Minnesota scored a massive resume win by beating Iowa 102-95 in overtime at Williams Arena. The Gophers are now 8-1 on the season and 1-1 in conference play. Marcus Carr led all scorers with 30 points.
A confession. I was going to be happy if Minnesota kept this game within 20 points. I thought (and still think) that Iowa is a fantastic basketball team and plays in all the ways that give Minnesota fits. If the Gophers played a perfect basketball game, I thought they would likely lose by three possessions.
The recap is pretty easy to write. Minnesota came out with a clear game plan to post trap Luka Garza, face guard Joe Wieskamp, and force someone else on Iowa to beat them. The first fifteen minutes of basketball was the best I have seen Minnesota play all season. The rotations were crisp on offense and defense. Minnesota moved the ball well and attempted good, open shots.
In the second half, the Gophers briefly fell apart and allowed Iowa to go on a 17-2 run to open up the game. Minnesota failed to clean the glass, and the Hawkeyes made a clear adjustment to the post-trap. Nevertheless, Minnesota hung around, then Brandon Johnson blew up. No seriously. Brandon Johnson was 8-9 from distance, just one shy of the single-game program record. He was the player of the game in a game where Marcus Carr had 30 points.
Nevertheless, with 44 seconds to play, the Gophers were down five points to the country’s #4 ranked team. Brandon Johnson made two free throws, his only non-three point points of the night. Johnson then grabbed a defensive board and passed out to Marcus Carr, who nailed a three point shot to cut the deficit to three. After Joe Touissant made two free throws, Jamal Mashburn Jr drew a foul and made two free throws. The Gophers sent Touissant back to the free-throw line, and fortunately, Touissant missed both free throws. That set up this:
In overtime, Brandon Johnson went 4-4 from distance before Liam Robbins delivered the dagger.
In true 2020 fashion, fans stormed the court.
Quarantine court storm. pic.twitter.com/DRJ4XWlzkk— Minnesota Men's Basketball (@GopherMBB) December 26, 2020
Merry Christmas y’all. Merry Christmas.
Marcus Carr had 30 points, eight assists, and just two turnovers. He’s the best point guard in the Big 10, and I will hear no challenges.
Jamal Mashburn played a critical role late. You love to see freshman top recruits make impacts.
Gabe Kalscheur is the reason that Joe Wieskamp was 3-13 for the game. Defense matters. In the New Year, let’s hope that Santa gives Kal back his three-point shot.
Massive kudos to Richard Pitino, who out-coached Fran McCaffery on Christmas. I agree with all of this, even if it’s not exactly “Don’t be afraid to be a legend.”