Led by Brandon Johnson, the Minnesota Golden Gophers have upset the No.4 Iowa Hawkeyes, defeating the ranked opponents, 102-95 after OT.
Johnson, the 6-foot-8 senior, delivered four downtown hits during the overtime, closing what was one of the best college basketball games this season.
With just 44 seconds until the end of the regulations, the Hawkeyes had a seven-point advantage. Still, the Gophers executed a stunning comeback, with Marcus Carr in the middle, as the junior guard made two clutch three-pointers, one of them with 5.7 seconds to go to tie the match.
That was the situation when the momentum switched sides, and there was no chance for Iowa to come back in the game as it continued. Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp tried to shake up their teammates, but without success.
Minnesota had a double-digit lead in the first half, 35-23, showing excellent performance, mostly due to Carr, who poured 15 points in the first part of the match. However, in the closing phase of the first 20 minutes, the hosts slowed down, and the Hawkeyes used that to create a swing that continued throughout the second half.
In no time, the fourth-seeded team was up 60-52, and it seemed that the Gophers are about to experience their second loss of the year.
Three-pointers were the key in this event, with the hosts scoring half of their points from behind the arc, shooting 17-for-43. Inferiority in the aerial challenges (Iowa had 55 boards, Minnesota 38), was completely covered up with this aspect of the game.
— Minnesota Men's Basketball (@GopherMBB) December 26, 2020
Carr had 30 points, 6-for-13 for three with 8 assists, Johnson 26 off the bench, missing just one of his nine long-distance attempts, grabbing nine boards, while Liam Robbins had 18 buckets.
On the other side, Luka Garza was unstoppable with 32 points and 17 rebounds, 11 of them in the offense. CJ Frederick had 23 points and Wieskamp 14 with nine rebounds. This is the second loss for the Hawkeyes (7-2) in the last three games, suffering one against the No.1 Gonzaga Bulldogs a week ago. This development could hurt their AP Pool rankings, with the Hawkeyes dropping down in the list.
The 8-1 Golden Gophers are ahead of a true test of its quality, as they have six straight matchups against the rivals who are among AP Top 25 right now. At first, Minnesota awaits the Michigan State Spartans before visiting Wisconsin.