The Iowa coach explains why Jordan Bohannon gained more trust
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Peter Jok didn’t have the basketball in his hands on the final possession of his Iowa career.
Instead, it was freshman Cordell Pemsl who surprisingly found himself alone with the ball 17 feet from the basket as the clock neared zero Sunday. The forward’s jumpshot bounced off the front rim, and TCU ended the Hawkeyes’ season with a 94-92 overtime victory in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Seconds later, Jok raised both of his hands and smiled as the remnants of a soldout crowd applauded one of the best players in Hawkeye history.
“I don’t want to go out in a loss. But overall, it’s been a great career and I just want to thank all the coaches and all the fans that stuck with me,” Jok said.
“Hopefully, what I did in the last four years rewarded them.”
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Jok scored 22 points against the Horned Frogs to finish with 1,508 in a Hawkeye uniform. That total pushed him past his high school coach at West Des Moines Valley, Jeff Horner, into 15th place in program history.
But Jok also gathered 176 rebounds this season to rank second on the team. His 84 assists — including five Sunday — also were the second-highest total.
““Everybody thought I was a shooter before this year. But ever since I started playing basketball, I’m a playmaker and I make shots,” Jok said. “I don’t want to be remembered just as a shooter because, as you see this year, I improved in a lot of spots other than shooting.
“But at the end of the day, shooting is the main thing that I do.”
Indeed, the next time Jok wears his Hawkeyes No. 14 uniform will be at the NCAA 3-point shooting contest March 30 in Phoenix.
Iowa finished its season with a 19-15 record after being diced up by the fourth-seeded Horned Frogs (21-15). TCU got 52 points in the paint and made 10 of 24 3-pointers to roll to a pair of 11-point leads in the second half.
The Hawkeyes kept battling back, thanks to terrific 3-point shooting. Jok made 5 of 10. Freshman point guard Jordan Bohannon upstaged him with 7 of 12 long-range shooting, finishing with 25 points and 13 assists for a third consecutive double-double. Nicholas Baer came off the bench and knocked down 4 of 6 3-pointers and also recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
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And it wasn’t enough.
The Hawkeyes forced overtime when Tyler Cook made a strong move in the post and banked in a shot with 8.2 seconds left to tie the score 84-84.
But the extra session was rocky. TCU attacked inside and quickly took the lead. The Hawkeyes had to play from behind again, and got close on Bohannon’s final two 3-pointers.
But TCU converged on Bohannon on the final play, which began with 3.4 seconds left. He had no choice but to pass it to the wide-open Pemsl.
“I was planning on running to the front of the rim just in case he missed to try to get a tip-in at the horn,” Pemsl said. “And when I caught it I just glanced for a second and knew I didn’t have a lot of time to either put it on the deck and get to the rim or try to kick it to anyone.
“I got a look and it was a look I was capable of making. It just didn’t fall.”
Jok said there were no hard feelings. Of course, he would have loved to take the final shot. But that’s not the sum total of his game anymore.
“People keep asking me why I don’t take last shots, but people focus so much on me, I try to get somebody else a better shot than I have. I don’t want to force a bad shot,” Jok said. “I wanted to (have the ball), but at the same time I didn’t think it was best for the team.”
Jok briefly consoled Pemsl after the buzzer.
“I thought we were down by three, so I was kind of mad for a second. But he said we were down by two, so I said, ‘OK, good shot,’” Jok said.
“I thought he was going to make it. But that’s a tough loss, man.”
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