Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon embraces big moments like his game-winning shot Sunday. Why? Hear him explain: Hawk Central
IOWA CITY, Ia. — If you thought Jordan Bohannon's heroics Thursday at Indiana were a once-in-a-lifetime moment, you should have been in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday.
Bohannon, scoreless for the first 34 minutes against Northwestern, put up 15 points late, including the game-winning 3-pointer from the top of the key with 0.6 seconds left.
"Anytime we have a shot like that or an opportunity like that, I want the ball in my hands," the junior point guard said after Sunday's game. "I was able to break free for the ball, so I shot that shot ever since I was little."
No. 20 Iowa, despite a sluggish performance most of the game, went on a 15-3 run late to pull out a miraculous 80-79 victory.
Bohannon scored 25 points Thursday in a 77-72 win at Indiana, including the Hawkeyes' final 11 in a 91-second span of brilliance.
Then he one-upped himself Sunday. Actually, he three-upped himself. His contested 3-pointer went through the net as cleanly as possible, Bohannon leaving his shooting hand dangling in the air before running to the sideline to slap hands with the fans sitting in the front row.
"I knew before the ball even left my hand that I was going to make it," Bohannon said.
The final play, which began on the sideline near Iowa's bench, had several options, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. One was a lob pass inside to power forward Tyler Cook. A two-point basket would have forced overtime. But Northwestern defender Anthony Gaines feinted toward Cook to give Bohannon the sliver of the opening he needed.
"I haven't had too many like him that have that kind of stroke, consistently make shots like that," McCaffery said of Bohannon. "The ones that I've had wanted to shoot it in that situation. They have such supreme confidence in their ability to make it; they want to shoot it. That's who he is."
On the other bench, Northwestern coach Chris Collins was just as impressed. The Wildcats were worried about a lob to Cook, but didn't want to provide too much help down low, either. They chose the wrong poison.
"That's what he does. He is a late-game player," Collins said of Bohannon. "We had one of our best defenders, Anthony Gaines, on him. We came up there on him and tried to challenge it, but it's a big-time shot that he had to make."
The late-game action erased what had happened before, which was Northwestern taking it to Iowa and building a 72-57 lead with 4 minutes, 14 seconds to go. Some in the crowd, which was well short of capacity, had started to leave.
Cook noticed. He tweaked them for their decision after the game.
“A lot of teams, including us last year, we would’ve kind of mailed it in. Especially when some fans start leaving and we were down 15," Cook told reporters with a broad smile. "Put that one in there. Put that in there … I want to see that in all the articles.”
Bohannon made those fans regret it. He made 3 of 4 3-pointers in the final minutes to allow the Hawkeyes to win a third consecutive game.
Iowa got 21 points from Joe Wieskamp, 19 from Cook and 16 from Isaiah Moss.
Iowa (19-5, 8-5 Big Ten Conference) looked flat-footed in the first half, leading for only 3 minutes, 32 seconds. Northwestern (12-11, 3-9) shot 50 percent from the field and outrebounded the Hawkeyes 21-10 while building a 41-35 lead.
Vic Law torched Iowa with 5 of 6 3-point shooting. In one telling sequence, he outraced Moss for a long rebound, turned and dribbled uncovered to the 3-point line and calmly drilled a shot as Nicholas Baer raced out too late to impede him. Moss was summoned to the bench shortly thereafter.
Iowa got 12 points from freshman Wieskamp in the first half, including a putback that was the team’s lone offensive rebound.
Iowa forward Joe Wieskamp had a great view of the game-winning shot Sunday. He also spent a great deal of the game riding a stationary bike. Hear why: Hawk Central
Starting center Luka Garza was again hampered with a pair of first-half fouls, limiting him to 9 minutes of play and no points. It was the third consecutive game that he sat for most of the first half.
Bohannon attempted only two shots in the first half. He finally got a bank shot to fall late in the game, then missed a wide-open layup on a fast-break attempt.
It looked like it was that kind of night for the Hawkeyes. And then Bohannon made it that kind of night.
"Ice in my veins, right?" Bohannon joked when asked what takes over him when basketball outcomes hang in the balance.
"I just feel really comfortable toward the ends of the games. When you have a coach like Coach McCaffery that gives the ultimate green light to you and gives you the supreme confidence to be able to hit shots like that down the stretch — it would have been really easy for him to sit me the rest of the game, how I was playing, but he was really confident in me and really confident in everyone that was out there that we were going to pull this off.
"And that's what we did."
That's what he did.
Iowa next plays at Rutgers at 5 p.m. Saturday.