IOWA CITY, Ia. – Peter Jok scored a career-high 24 points Wednesday. None more important than the last three.
Iowa’s junior guard took a Mike Gesell pass and nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner with 25 seconds remaining in overtime. With one flick of the wrist, Iowa’s one-point deficit became a two-point lead, and got the Hawkeyes over the hump in a 78-75 victory over Florida State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“He’s that kind of person,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “He’s not afraid of the moment. And he made a big shot.”
Jok’s three-pointer was the 21st lead change on the night. The game was also tied nine times.
“We didn’t have enough pressure on the delivery to deter the pass,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “(Jok) was able to catch the ball in rhythm and he’s very capable of knocking down the shot.”
The victory was Iowa’s third straight in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. And it gave the Big Ten and 8-6 edge and bragging rights for another year.
Jok struggled with his shot all game. He was 7 of 19 from the field, and had missed six of eight 3-point attempts, when he made the clutch shot.
"I don't care how many shots I miss, I'm going to keep shooting," Jok said. "The coaches and players had my back the whole game. They kept telling me, "It's going to fall.' " I didn't lose any confidence. I knew they were going to fall sooner or later."
McCaffery took Jok out of the game earlier in the overtime. As he went to check back in, Jok said assistant coach Kirk Speraw told him, "We're going to run a play for you. You need to make it.'
Jok said: "I'm going to make it."
All five Iowa starters scored in double figures. Jarod Uthoff finished with 15, including four straight free throws in the last 10.9 of OT as the Hawkeyes improved to 5-2. Adam Woodbury had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Anthony Clemmons and Gesell added 10 points apiece.
“They were a little more experienced than we were," Hamilton said. "I thought they got what they were looking for down the stretch. And they got good shots.”
Florida State (4-2), getting 20 points from freshman guard Malik Beasley, scored three of its first four baskets in the overtime after offensive rebounds. The Seminoles outrebounded Iowa, 49-42. Florida State finished with 19 offensive rebounds and had a 13-6 edge in second-chance points.
The Seminoles scored 16 of their first 17 points of the game in the paint and finished the game with a 46-30 edge there. But Iowa countered with a 19-10 edge in points off turnovers.
Iowa was sluggish out of the gate, not making its first field goal until the game was 4 1/2 minutes old. Florida State jumped out to a 17-8 lead. Later in the half, the Hawkeyes finally found something offensively. Iowa went on a 13-2 run to move in front, 25-21.
Florida State countered with a 9-0 run. Iowa had made just one of seven 3-pointers when Gesell and Jok made them on late back-to-back trips to cut the deficit to 32-31 at intermission. The Seminoles attempted 12 more field goals than Iowa, grabbed seven more rebounds and had a 26-12 edge in points in the paint the first half.
“We didn’t panic,” McCaffery said. “We hung in there. Coming in at halftime we were down one. I was surprised we were only down one.”
Iowa was playing with a short bench. Dale Jones didn’t suit up after injuring a leg in practice Tuesday. McCaffery said after the game the injury could be serious.
“We’ll wait and see,” McCaffery said.
Iowa couldn’t close the deal in the final minute of regulation. Gesell missed one of two free throws with 57.4 remaining. Iowa had a 63-61 lead. Then, the Hawkeyes couldn’t track down Xavier Rathan-Mayes’ missed 3-pointer. Montay Brandon got the offensive foul, was fouled by Jok and made two free throws to tie the game with :27.2 remaining.
Iowa milked the clock for a last shot, but Gesell drove along the baseline and threw to ball away with 02.1 to go.
The Hawkeyes play at home Saturday against Missouri-Kansas City.