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Minnesota 102, Iowa 95: Stocking Stuffed

Merry Christmas to no one

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Your Iowa Hawkeyes blew a five-point lead with a minute to play in regulation to drop its first conference game of the season, 102-95 to unranked Minnesota.

Poor shooting, turnovers and a lack of transition defense plagued Iowa in the first half. While Luka Garza struggled early—just 5 points but 8 boards—Minnesota’s Marcus Carr played the role of That Guy by scoring 15 points on 5-8 shooting. Iowa didn’t have an answer for him defensively—save for Joe Toussaint, more on him later—and it looked like the Hawkeyes were dead in the water until Joe Wieskamp came alive.

He scored 7 consecutive points in the final minute and a half of the first frame, and caused Minnesota’s only turnover of the half at the very end when he swiped the ball from Carr.

Wieskamp got poked in the eye in the aftermath and Iowa wouldn’t get anything to work with five ticks left to head into the locker room down 38-33 after trailing by nine for what felt like 20 minutes.

Predictably, the talent gap between Minnesota and the #4 team in the country revealed itself as the game’s sample size grew larger. Iowa went on a 12-2 run thanks to two three pointers from CJ Fredrick and another from Garza to give the Hawks a 5 point lead.

A 7-0 scoring run for Minnesota made it interesting with 9 minutes to play, and right when Toussaint slashed and dashed for his first basket of the night, Brandon Johnson hit a 3 to knot it up.

Then Luka Garza made an easy layup. Then another one. And all of a sudden he’s got 21 points to make it 18 straight games with at least 20 points.

On back to back possessions JT got absolutely MUGGED by Carr and Gabe Kalscheur.

Meanwhile, Jordan Bohannon took a breath on Marcus Carr and found himself in foul trouble with just under 4 minutes left in the game.

His fourth foul came right after a spectacular three-point play from Wieskamp to give Iowa a four point lead.

Carr sunk both his free throws to cut the lead to two, but Toussaint, in for Bohannon found Garza while driving into the lane like a scene from Mad Max. On the next posession, JT found Fredrick in the corner, who was fouled on a three point shot to get three chances at the line.

CJF made just one, but Both Gach turned it over the ensuing drive.

Carr got in the way of Toussaint’s elbow on Iowa’s next possession, and it took roughly 11 minutes to decide not to assess a flagrant on an obviously inadvertent jab.

Liam Robbins and Fredrick exchanged free throws as the final minute drew near, and a critical offensive rebound by the Gophers eventually found its way into JT’s basket, and he’d go to the line up three with 44 seconds left.

He sunk both his shots, but so did Brandon Johnson when he was fouled by Connor McCaffery on the next possession. Fredrick went 1-2 when he went to the line next.

Things just had to get dramatic as Carr made a three-point jumper to cut Iowa’s lead to 81-78, but Toussaint made it back to the line, sunk his shots, and put the game just outta reach. ..

..Is what I had written at the time.

Jamal Mashburn went to the stripe, made both his attempts, and then fouled Toussaint, who missed the front end of this 1-and-1.

The Grinch Marcus Carr hit a three to knot it up at 83. Iowa’s go-ahead possession was uninspired, and we got overtime for Christmas.

Brandon Johnson made back-to-back-to-back threes on back-to-back-to-back possessions and that was that. Bad looks, bad defense and a little bit of head-scratching coaching decisions stuffed this stocking full of coal. Robbins and Fredrick traded threes near the end but that was still that.

The rest

  • We can talk about Fran not fouling Carr up 3 in regulation in the comments if you want.
  • Minnesota shot 45% from the floor and 40% from deep (17-43). Eventually, you have a conversation about defensive philosophy and not “teams shooting well one night.”
  • Toussaint played 17 minutes, but wasn’t around when it mattered in overtime. He felt like Iowa’s X factor on the defensive end, and made things work on the other side of the floor. It feels like more minutes for JT at a critical juncture leads to a different outcome, but that’s me.
  • Carr ended with 30, and Johnson 26. That’s not really gonna cut it.
  • Iowa had 12 more rebounds and one fewer turnover than Minnesota, making this even more difficult to process.
  • Garza had 32 points. Still, I don’t understand how there aren’t more opportunities to get him isolated in critical moments of the game.
  • Reminder: it’s still December