MINNEAPOLIS — Brandon Johnson made all four his 3-point attempts in overtime and finished with 26 points and nine rebounds, leading Minnesota’s late surge to upset No. 4 Iowa 102-95 on Friday night.
Marcus Carr had 30 points on 6-for-13 shooting from 3-point range and eight assists, and Liam Robbins added 18 points and four blocks for the Gophers (8-1, 1-1 Big Ten). They trailed by seven points with 44 seconds left in regulation and outscored the Hawkeyes 29-15 the rest of the way.
Luka Garza had 32 points on 11-for-27 shooting and 17 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (7-2, 1-1), who allowed 99 points in their first loss last week to No. 1 Gonzaga. C.J. Fredrick scored 23 points and Joe Wieskamp added 14 points and nine rebounds, but a 55-38 rebounding edge wasn’t enough for Iowa to overcome the barrage of 3-balls by the 6-foot-8 graduate transfer Johnson.
Carr made a stepback 3-pointer with 31 seconds left to bring Minnesota to 81-78.
Joe Toussaint, who made his four other free-throw attempts in the final minute of regulation, missed a pair of foul shots. Then Carr hit the tying 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds remaining, bringing the Gophers bench players leaping onto the court.
Then the extra session became Johnson’s time to shine, starting with Minnesota’s first possession when he swished his shot from the wing just 13 seconds in. Robbins, who had his hands full guarding the nation’s leading scorer in Garza, added the dagger 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining in overtime for a 98-91 lead after the Gophers broke the Iowa press.
This game would have produced one of the most electric atmospheres of the season at Williams Arena had it not been for the pandemic that kept the gates closed and prompted the Big Ten to schedule it along with three other conference contests for Christmas Day television programming.
Iowa hadn’t played on the Dec. 25 holiday since 1988. Minnesota found no record of any organized sporting event ever played by the school on Christmas Day.
Carr, who joined Garza on the 10-player preseason All-Big Ten team, had 15 points in the first half. His 3-pointer with 3:22 left before the break gave the Gophers their largest lead of the game at 35-23, but Wieskamp — who went 3 for 13 from the floor — made one of his biggest contributions with a 3-pointer on the Hawkeyes’ last possession of the half to trim the deficit to five points.
Early in the second half, a pair of 3-pointers by Fredrick and one by Garza to spark a 10-0 spurt by the Hawkeyes for a 45-40 lead. Garza started gobbling up rebounds and turning them into gimme putbacks, and Iowa looked like it was in control.
Garza went just 2 for 11 for five points in the first half, dogged by an extra trapping defender as Eric Curry and Sam Freeman pitched in with vital post defense when Robbins sat with foul trouble. Still, Garza easily stretched his streak of 20-plus points to 18 consecutive Big Ten games.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes leaned on their defense to beat Purdue 70-55 earlier this week, but that went missing when they needed it most at Minnesota.
Minnesota: This meat-grinder start of the Big Ten schedule, with the first eight conference games against opponents currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, is giving the Gophers as true of a test as coach Richard Pitino has had in eight seasons. This was just the win they needed to take some confidence into the next two weeks.