By RICK BROWN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Jordan Bohannon wasn’t heavily recruited out of Linn-Mar High School, even though he was named Iowa’s Mr. Basketball in 2016.
But University of Iowa men’s basketball head coach Fran McCaffery saw something he liked and signed him. On Sunday, McCaffery’s recruiting vision was rewarded. Iowa celebrated New Year’s Day with an 86-83 overtime victory over Michigan on Mediacom Court, and Bohannon played a major role.
One of four freshmen in the starting lineup, Bohannon scored 17 points. Five of them came in the extra session. He added six assists to no turnovers as the Hawkeyes improved to 9-6 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
“Truthfully, he’s kind of doing what I thought he would do,” McCaffery said. “If I didn’t think he could do it, I wouldn’t have offered him a scholarship.”
Michigan head coach John Beilein was also impressed with Bohannon, the fourth member of his family to play Division I basketball.
“As a freshman right now, you’re going to enjoy watching him for the next four years,” Beilein said. “I don’t know where he was in the recruiting world, or where he was recruited, but that kid is playing as well as any freshman point guard in the country. He was a big difference in this game.”
Peter Jok led the Hawkeyes with 25 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining in overtime that gave the Hawkeyes an 84-81 lead. Jok added two free throws with 19.7 seconds to go that made it 86-83. Iowa maintained the final lead with a solid defensive stop to end the game.
“Pete has figured it out,” McCaffery said. “He has to be a screener and passer and he can still get 25. That’s what makes him special.”
Jok was clutch at money time, but he appreciated what Bohannon did to get Iowa to the brink of victory.
“He was big time,” Jok said. “He stepped up for a freshman, to take those shots. It’s one thing to take them at those moments. It’s another to make them. He’s a hooper. He’s not scared of those moments.”
Bohannon and Jok combined to make 7-of-12 3-pointers. The Hawkeyes were 11-of- 19 as a team from 3-point distance. Michigan was just 12-of-35, including a miss by D.J. Wilson on the last possession. Zak Irvin got the offensive rebound, but lost the handle and Iowa survived.
“That final (19.7 seconds) lasted about 30 days,” said Nicholas Baer, who made 3-of-4 triples and finished with 12 points and five rebounds. “Sometimes in those moments, it feels like everything is moving slow motion.”
The victory was Iowa’s fifth straight over Michigan, and fourth in a row against the Wolverines at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It was a tight, well-played contest throughout. Michigan had just eight turnovers, Iowa nine. The Hawkeyes’ largest lead, seven points, came in the first half. Michigan’s largest lead, seven points, came in the second half.
Michigan’s two leading scorers, Irvin and Derrick Walton, Jr., were a combined 0-for-11 from the field when Walton made a 3-pointer right before the buzzer to cut Iowa’s lead to 39-36.
But Wilson, who entered the game averaging 8.5 points, kept his team afloat with 19 points in the first half and 28 for the game, to go along with 14 rebounds. The 6-foot-10 junior’s previous career-high had been 16 points.
Wilson’s basket after an offensive rebound gave Michigan a 63-56 lead with 9:37 left in regulation. But Iowa scored seven straight points, completed by a Cook basket, to tie the game at 63. Cook finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
There were four lead changes after that, the last on Irvin’s 3-pointer for a 74-72 Michigan lead with 28 seconds to go.
Cordell Pemsl tied the game when he grabbed one of his eight rebounds, on the offensive glass, and scored to tie the game with 16.3 seconds left. Michigan never got a shot off, as Bohannon’s defensive pressure on Walton forced him to lose the ball out-of-bounds with less than a second to play in regulation.
After missing three shots on its first possession of overtime, Iowa scored on four of its next five. Bohannon scored on a drive and then nailed a 3-pointer, Baer got a short jump hook to go in the lane, and Jok buried the 3 that gave Iowa the lead for good.
“We could have hung our heads, because we got it in there, it looked like we were going to score and take the lead and we didn’t,” McCaffery said of that first overtime possession. “But nothing rattled us from that point forward.”
Iowa returns to action Thursday at Nebraska. The Hawkeyes’ next home game will be Jan. 8 against Rutgers.