By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A barrage of 3-point field goals helped the University of Iowa build a 22-point first-half lead and the Hawkeyes held off Northwestern to post a 77-70 victory Sunday night on Mediacom Court.
Iowa led 18-12 when the barrage began — four straight triples in a span of 98 seconds. Sophomore Jordan Bohannon hit his first 3 at the 12:25 mark to put the Hawkeyes up 21-12. Sophomore Isaiah Moss followed with a 3 34 seconds later before Bohannon hit his second and third in a span of 40 seconds to give Iowa a 30-12 lead.
The Hawkeyes made nine 3-pointers in the first half to take a 45-28 lead into the locker room after shooting 48.1 percent. Bohannon had six 3-pointers and two free throws — tying Chris Street’s school record for consecutive makes — to give him a 20-point first half after going scoreless last week at Minnesota.
“Jordan needs to play like that,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “I told him that. I said you have to get your swag back. He was doing a good job of running the offense (the last few games), but he needs to be aggressive like that for us to win.”
Iowa controlled the second half, pushing its lead back to 22 (50-28) on a Moss layup with 17:48 to play. The Hawkeyes led by 19 with 7:31 left before the Wildcats made a late charge.
Scottie Lindsey made his seventh and eighth 3-pointers in a 54-second stretch to cut Iowa’s lead to 73-65 with 2:44 to play. Bohannon got tangled up and was fouled on Iowa’s next offensive possession, where he went to the free throw line for a 1-and-1.
Bohannon pointed to the sky and missed the free throw intentionally.
“I left it up to him,” said McCaffery. “That’s what he chose to do, I think it’s awesome.”
Freshman Luka Garza made a jumper on Iowa’s next possession to push the lead to 10. Lindsey made his ninth 3 at the buzzer with five seconds to play.
Bohannon finished with 25 points with all seven of his field goals coming from 3-point range. He made 4-of-5 free throws and had five assists in 40 minutes. Garza finished with 18 points, sophomore Tyler Cook had 14 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double, and Moss added 12.
Lindsey led all scorers with 32 points, making 10-of-14 field goals and nine 3-pointers.
BOHANNON TIES STREET
Bohannon made his 33rd and 34th free in the first half to tie Chris Street’s school record. Bohannon went to the line with 2:15 remaining for the front end of a 1-and-1. He intentionally missed the attempt to make sure Street kept a share of the record.
“That was something I have had on my mind the last couple of games and the last few months,” said Bohannon of the record. “I talked to my brother and we had the same agreement that it wasn’t my record to have.
“Life is much bigger than basketball. That has been on my mind for awhile and I knew I wanted to leave it short a little bit.”
MOMENTUM FOR NYC
Iowa’s victory gave the Hawkeyes the 12 seed at the 2018 Big Ten Tournament, which will begin Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. The Hawkeyes will face 13th-seeded Illinois — a team Iowa defeated 104-97 in overtime on Jan. 11 in Champaign.
“It feels good to head to New York off a W, but it doesn’t get any easier,” said McCaffery. “You remember the last time we played Illinois. It’s not an easy game to play anybody.”
COOK THE DISTRIBUTOR
Cook tallied the seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but he added another dimension to his game Sunday. The forward finished with a career-high six assists.
“Everybody says I don’t pass,” joked Cook. “I was trying to be aggressive driving and guys were getting open. I was trying to hit the open guy and people were making shots today. That is all there is to it.”
- Iowa finishes the regular season with a 13-18 overall record and a 4-14 mark in Big Ten play.
- The Hawkeyes won the rebounding battle, 41-29, which included 17 offensive rebounds. Iowa turned those extra chances into 20 points.
- Iowa finished with 16 assists to nine turnovers.
- Bohannon played at least 40 minutes for the third time this season.
- Senior Dom Uhl started at one of the forward positions on Senior Day. He played eight minutes, finishing with two blocks and two rebounds in eight minutes.
Wednesday’s Big Ten Tournament opener will begin at 4:30 p.m. (CT). The winner will play fifth-seeded Michigan on Thursday.