IOWA CITY, Ia. — There were no concerns regarding empty seats or noise shortage this time around. Carver-Hawkeye Arena, a place sometimes dinged for its college basketball environment amid a hoops-hungry conference, put on its best face Friday night.
A “blackout” was well executed. As for the basketball?
Certainly intense, if rarely elegant.
Iowa survived on the other end.
A disastrous shooting night morphed into a Jordan Bohannon late show, as the Hawkeyes’ sharpshooting junior rescued his squad from a disastrous Indiana loss.
His game-tying trey with 28 seconds remaining forced overtime, and Bohannon followed with three more big ones in the extra session, propelling No. 19 Iowa to a 76-70 comeback win in front of a sellout crowd. Coupled with the Hawkeyes’ 77-72 win in Assembly Hall earlier this month, this year marks Iowa’s first regular-season sweep over Indiana since 2010-11.
"I probably have a better shooting percentage when I’ve got a guy in my face than when I’m open this year," Bohannon said. "Someone’s got to tap into those statistics.
"I feel really confident late in the game. We ran some good plays down the stretch again. The ball went in."
Bohannon finished with 17 points, 12 of which came from the final 30 seconds on. Iowa only hit seven of 25 3-point attempts, but none were bigger than Bohannon’s final act.
"He just keeps grinding," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "Give Indiana credit. They came in and fought hard. Their defense was really good throughout the entire game on him, on everybody else. We just had to keep fighting. And we didn't lead the entire second half. Never led. So picked a good time to tie it."
Iowa never led the entire second half, but an up-and-down Indiana squad couldn’t find serious separation. A six-point Hoosier lead with 2:17 to play didn't hold. An Iowa team that has been playing with fire of late only needed a cracked door to slide back in.
Then, Bohannon busted it open.
The game-tying bucket brought Carver to its feet — an off-balanced shot from the wing that calmly splashed home. Romeo Langford’s potential game-winner on the other end didn’t fall. With new life, Iowa wasn’t letting this one slip away.
"I didn't want to get too excited because we still had some minutes left in the game,” Bohannon said, “but something in me knew that if I was able to tie this game up and push it into overtime, we were going to come out in overtime with a win."
Bohannon re-woke the crowd with another deep one, handing Iowa a 71-68 lead with 2:01 to go in overtime. Indiana climbed within a bucket before Bohannon put his foot down again. His final points — another back-breaking three — handed Iowa a five-point cushion in the last 30 seconds.
While the Maryland loss stung but didn’t sour Iowa’s postseason resume, this defeat would have in a large way. But the kid from Linn-Mar let it fly when it mattered.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.