PHOENIX — Peter Jok is a three-point specialist. And he proved it once again Thursday night, celebrating his birthday and wearing his Hawkeye jersey one final time by winning the 3-point shooting contest held as part of the festivities at the NCAA Final Four. Jok becomes the first Hawkeye to win the event.
Jok, who turned 23 Thursday, had to fight off the hometown favorite to win the title. Jok registered a score of 20 in the final round, edging past DeWayne Russell of Grand Canyon University (15), who was competing in his home arena.
In taking the title, Jok defeated a field that also included Bryce Alford of UCLA, Torian Graham of Arizona State, Kris Jenkins of Villanova, Matt Jones of Duke, Nazareth Mitrou-Long of Iowa State, and Derrick Walton, Jr., of Michigan.
Jok had the highest score of the first round, scoring 21 points to finish ahead of Russell (19), Jones (19) and Walton (18).
In the semifinals Jok registered a score of 22 points to advance to the finals against Russell (22). Walton (15) and Jones (14) failed to advance to the finals.
In the finals, Jok shot first and posted his winning score ahead of Russell, while Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery and his staff watched from the sidelines.
“I went first and was able to put some pressure on him,” said Jok, of defeating Russell in the final round. “I had to represent the state of Iowa.”
Despite defeating the hometown favorite in the finals, Jok was serenaded with the singing of happy birthday from the capacity crowd during a post-event interview on ESPN.
In the final event of the 3-point contest, Jok competed against women’s champion Kindred Wesemann of Kansas State, with both shooting a score of 16.