BLOOMINGTON – Christian Watford rose, looking to hit another big three-pointer for Indiana.
This time, though, the shot didn't go in. And this time, the Hoosiers' rally fell short.
Minnesota survived a late Indiana charge to hold on and beat the No. 7 Hoosiers 77-74 Thursday at Assembly Hall.
IU made a spirited comeback late in the game.
Minnesota led 70-62 with 1:45 remaining. But the Hoosiers got within 71-68 with 40.2 seconds when Cody Zeller stole a pass and tipped the ball to Victor Oladipo, who scored whiled getting fouled. Oladipo converted the free throw.
Joe Coleman made two free throws for Minnesota, but Matt Roth answered with a three-pointer on the other end to make it 73-71 with 30 seconds left. Coleman made two more free throws, but then Zeller scored while getting fouled. He made the free throw, cutting the deficit to 75-74 with 17.3 seconds left.
Austin Hollis made two free throws to make it 77-74 Minnesota with 15.1 seconds left.
IU worked the ball to Watford, who made a game-winning three-pointer to knock off then No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 10. He couldn't connect this time.
Julian Welch missed two free throws for Minnesota and IU had one final chance with 1.7 seconds remaining. But the Gophers intercepted a halfcourt inbound pass to end the game.
Zeller led IU (15-2, 3-2 Big Ten) with 23 points. Will Sheehey had 12 points in his return after missing five games with an ankle injury.
Hollins had 18 points as the Gophers (13-5, 1-4) handed the Hoosiers their first home loss of the season.
IU trailed early before Zeller helped spur a run.
First, he ran the floor well, received a pass from Jordan Hulls and finished with a dunk.
Zeller then stole the ensuing inbounds pass. He jumped, tipped the ball to himself, collected it and then fed Oladipo, who finished the play with a layup.
An upset Minnesota coach Tubby Smith immediately called a timeout as IU took its first lead, 12-11, with 14:32 left in the half.
Sheehey received a nice ovation when he entered the game with 13:17 left in the first half. He made an immediate impact. Zeller lost control of a ball on the way to the basket. Hustling on the play, Sheehey caught the loose ball and then went to the basket and finished with a layup, stretching IU's lead to 14-11.
The Gophers then used three-point shooting to build a lead.
Andre Hollins tied the game at 16 with a three-pointer. Chip Armelin's three-pointer gave the Gophers a 19-18 lead.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Maverick Ahanmisi and Armelin increased Minnesota's lead to 29-20 with 7:30 left in the half.
Minnesota made 6 of 13 three-pointers in the half and led 37-34 at halftime. The Hoosiers were just 1 of 8.