By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Junior Jordan Bohannon’s 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds remaining completed the unlikeliest of comebacks for the 20th-ranked University of Iowa men’s basketball team.
Northwestern had a 99.2 percent win probability on ESPN.com when the Wildcats led 72-57 with 4:30 remaining. When Bohannon’s contested 3-pointer from the top of the key splashed the nylon, it gave the Hawkeyes an 80-79 victory Sunday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I have always felt comfortable with those shots,” said Bohannon, who scored all 15 of his points in the second half. “It’s something I practice, one dribble to the right, to the left, leaning shots. We drew up a good set and got the ball in my hands.”
The Hawkeyes trailed 79-77 with three seconds left and were inbounding from in front of their bench when they drew up a lob to Tyler Cook to try to tie the game.
Northwestern helped and well… the rest is history.
“I was able to break free for the ball and I shot a shot that I have shot since I was little,” said Bohannon. “I knew before the ball left my hand that I was going to make it.”
“That’s what he does, he’s a late-game player,” said Northwestern head coach Chris Collins. “He has done that for a big part of his career and was able to get just enough separation and get a look off.
“We had one of our best defenders, Anthony Gaines, on him, and we tried to challenge it, but it’s a big time shot that he had to make.”
The Hawkeyes appeared to be dead in the water. Northwestern turned a 41-35 halftime lead into a nine advantage three minutes into the second half. The Hawkeyes were lucky to be down nine with 12 minutes to play after enduring a five-minute scoring drought.
Things got worse with Northwestern stretching the lead to 12 with 8:35 left and a Derrick Pardon point blank field goal stretched the lead to 72-57 with 4:30 to play.
“It was a bizarre game,” said Bohannon. “That’s what it’s going to take on a night-to-night basis for us to pull out games. We weren’t going to go down without a fight. We did a good job on that.
“We could have folded and probably would have the last couple of years. We stayed connected and sped them up off the press. We got the sideways, got some huge turnovers, and executed down the stretch.”
Being in the double bonus, Iowa cut the lead to 10 with 3:20 to play at the free throw line with makes from Cook, Joe Wieskamp, and Bohannon. Bohannon’s 3-pointer at the 2:48 mark to cut it to nine, Wieskamp’s 3 trimmed it to eight, and Bohannon connected again with 1:24 left to make the score 76-71.
After Vic Law missed a 3-point attempt with under a minute remaining, Wieskamp drove the baseline for a layup to make it a one possession game. Trailing 78-73, Bohannon drove for a quick two to get it to three and Isaiah Moss scored in transition off an A.J. Turner missed free throw to get to within one with 16 seconds left.
Vic Law went 1-of-2 from the free throw line with 10 seconds remaining, giving Iowa a chance.
“I give a lot of credit to our guys for continuing to fight down the stretch and continuing to play,” said Cook. “We didn’t play up to our standards as a unit, really the whole game. We stayed together, stayed positive, and we tried to stay locked in. When coach gave us instructions down the stretch, we executed.
“We got some huge shots by Jordan, big plays from Joe, Isaiah, Connor, and Nicholas Baer. Everyone contributed in there own way and we were able to get away with one today.”
Wieskamp paced the Hawkeyes with 21 points, making 7-of-10 field goals, including three 3-pointers, while Cook finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Moss scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting.
Northwestern shot 51.8 percent from the field and made eight 3-pointers, but it went just 1-of-8 from long range in the second half. Iowa had a 47.3 field goal percentage and went 9-of-17 from 3-point land.
Law led all scorers with 24 points, leading a group of four Wildcats in double figures.
QUOTING HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“It’s an incredible feeling in that locker room. The sense of accomplishment is a little different when you win one like that, when you stay together, you stay connected, you just keep fighting. That’s always as a coach what you want your guys to do.
“It was hard. It didn’t look like it was going to happen today. I kept looking up there saying, there’s enough time. Down 15 with not much time left, it’s going to be really hard, but if you manage the clock properly, you get a couple stops, we’re in the bonus, and mix in a couple 3s, it’s five possessions. That’s all it is. They understood that.”
- Bohannon scored 11 of his game-high 25 points in the final 90 seconds in Thursday’s road win at Indiana. The guard scored 13 points in the final 3:20 and all 15 in the final 5:28 to lead the Hawkeyes’ comeback.
- Wieskamp netted a team-best 21 points, reaching 20 points for the fourth time this season.
- Cook’s double-double is his team-leading fifth of the season and 14th of his career. Cook surpassed three Hawkeyes (Bill Logan, Dave Gunther, and Kevin Boyle) to move into Iowa’s top-25 in career scoring.
- The Hawkeyes were out-rebounded, 37-26, in the game.
ON THE HORIZON
The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday in the first of two meetings this season against Rutgers. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. (CT) in Piscataway, New Jersey. Tickets remain for Iowa’s final three home games at hawkeyesports.com/tickets.