IOWA CITY, Iowa - Minnesota played the role of Grinch on Christmas Day in Minneapolis when rival Iowa visited for the holiday. The Gophers overcame a seven-point deficit with 44 seconds to play in knocking off the then fourth-ranked team in the country, 102-95, in overtime.
The Hawkeyes yielded 19 points in the extra period and questions about a defense that's struggled at times in recent years resurfaced. They've tightened up on that end of the floor since that game, winning three contests in a row, including two on the road.
Iowa looks to make it four consecutive victories on Sunday (1:30 p.m. CT, BTN) and exact revenge against the Gophers, who visit Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The shocking loss in the first meeting fuels the No. 5 Hawkeyes (10-2 overall, 4-1 Big Ten).
"It's definitely a game we marked on our calendar," Iowa senior Jordan Bohannon said. "We don't want to try to look ahead to games and take one game more than the other, but we thought we had them at their place and we let it slip away. We've got a lot of energy coming into this game.
"We need to keep fighting if we want to have the season that we want to have. This is the next step for it, figure it out for a whole 40 minutes and try to get the win."
Minnesota's Brandon Johnson, a graduate transfer from Western Michigan, knocked down 8 of 9 three-point attempts and finished with 26 points in the upset of the Hawkeyes. He's score 25 points total in the four games since that meeting, including making just one of nine shots from behind the arc.
The Gophers have not been good away from home, losing all three games by an average score of 21.3 points. It came against teams - Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan - that are a combined 14-2 in Big Ten play, however.
Minnesota guard Marcus Carr stresses opponents with his ability to shoot from the outside and also break down defenses off of the dribble. He averages 21.5 points per game. Center Liam Robbins, a transfer from Drake, contributes 13.5 points, a team-best 7.3 rebounds and a Big Ten-high 2.7 blocks.
The Gophers lead the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense (30.9) but rank last in 3-point offense (30.4). They're also at the bottom of the conference in rebounding margin at -1.4.