Jordan Bohannon's intentionally missed free throw keeps Chris Street record in the books
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Jordan Bohannon looked into Section KK at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to make eye contact with his older brother, Zach, to confirm one last time: The plan they had discussed was still in motion.
Iowa's sophomore guard would intentionally miss a free throw, even with the Hawkeyes nursing a late lead in their regular-season finale against Northwestern.
And with one short-armed attempt, Bohannon's mission was complete. He had ensured his name would be next to — not in place of — that of Iowa legend Chris Street in the Hawkeye basketball record book.
“It’s been in my mind for a while," Bohannon said afterward. "I knew I wanted to leave it short a little bit. I didn’t want to make it too obvious."
Having made 34 consecutive free throws to tie Street’s school record, Bohannon stepped to the foul line with 2 minutes, 15 seconds remaining with Iowa leading, 73-65. He left the shot short, off the front rim, and pointed to the sky.
It was a touching tribute from one Iowa-born Hawkeye to another. Street never got a chance to extend his streak to 35. He was killed in a car accident Jan. 19, 1993 — three days after his final game, a 65-56 loss at Duke during Street's junior season at Iowa in which he made both free throws he tried.
Afterward, Mike and Patty Street — Chris' parents, who are season-ticket holders — embraced Jordan on the Carver-Hawkeye floor. Patty Street was moved to tears by the gesture.
"What a good kid. He’s so kind," she said. "That was so special that he thought of Christopher and that record.”
Mike Street had told people who asked leading up to this that he wanted Bohannon, a hard-working player like his son was, to break Chris' mark. But he understood and treasured the tribute.
“Christopher would want him to do to the best he could do and stay after it. But that was Jordan’s decision, and if that’s what he wanted to do, then we appreciate it," Mike said. "We certainly in the future want him to get another shot at it.
"I told him, ‘Next time, you need to go right on by.’ “
Bohannon hadn't missed a free throw since late in a Dec. 22 win against Colorado. He had been perfect in 2018, and hit 30 in a row way back on Jan. 30 but had only attempted two free throws in six games until Sunday.
Emotion in Motion: Read an excerpt of Rick Brown's book on Chris Street's legacy
He made two in Sunday's first half to get to 34. He and Zach, who has been a consistent voice of support for his younger brother by attending all of his games, had faith that Jordan's intentional miss wouldn't cost the team.
After Northwestern rebounded the miss, Nicholas Baer picked up a quick steal. And Luka Garza scored with 1:30 left to put Iowa comfortably ahead, 75-65.
No harm done. Iowa won, 77-70, and one significant record was maintained.
“We had an agreement that God’s plan wasn’t going to let that happen. You saw that tonight," Bohannon said. "I missed it. We got the ball right back. I don’t know if it was really destined to happen, but it worked out like it should have.”
Even though Bohannon was born more than 4 years after Street's death, his legacy has meant a lot to a kid who grew up in Marion wanting to be a Hawkeye. That's why this record meant so much. Now the two Hawkeyes share it.
“I know where the record deserves to stand, and that’s in Chris’ name," Bohannon said. "... It gets me a little emotional, knowing what one player can do for an entire state and entire Midwest and entire country, just to know what type of player he was.”
Northwestern coach Chris Collins, who was hosted by Chris Street while he was on a visit to Iowa back in the early 1990s, to this day remembers Street as a really close friend.
"Hearing that makes me feel good, because I know what a special guy Chris was," Collins said. "So that’s a pretty cool thing. So bravo to Jordan for doing that.”
Bohannon was worried coach Fran McCaffery would be mad. He hadn't told him of his plans.
But, it worked out. And Coach thought it was great.
"That's what he chose to do," McCaffery said. "I think it's awesome."