By JAMES ALLAN
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — In the words of Gary Dolphin, lightning does strike twice. Six days after Jordan Bohannon hit a game-winning 3-pointer against Northwestern, Joe Wieskamp became the latest Hawkeye hero.
The freshman banked in a corner 3-pointer in front of the Hawkeye bench with :00.2 seconds remaining, giving the No. 17/21 University of Iowa men’s basketball team a 71-69 victory over Rutgers on Saturday night at The RAC.
The last-second miracle gives Iowa its 20th win. The Hawkeyes are 20-5 overall, 9-5 in Big Ten Conference play.
Iowa led 68-66 with 10 seconds remaining when Rutgers’ Geo Baker connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key — a shot that hit the front of the rim, bounced up and off the backboard and fell — to give the Scarlet Knights a 69-68 lead with 3.3 seconds remaining.
Following an Iowa timeout, redshirt freshman Connor McCaffery inbounded the ball and hurled a pass the length of the court where it deflected off senior Nicholas Baer to Wieskamp in the corner. Luckily, the bank was open.
“The ball got tipped and wound up in the corner and I wound up being in the right place at the right time,” said Wieskamp. “I got it, knew I had to get it up quick, and I was able to make it.”
“I don’t even know what to say,” said Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell. “The ball got scrambled and tipped, lands in his hands, and he makes a play.”
The final flurry ended a back-and-forth game that featured eight times and 15 lead changes. The 3-pointer was Wieskamp’s first of the game; he finished with nine points on 4-of-7 shooting.
Junior Jordan Bohannon paced Iowa with 18 points and five assists, making 5-of-11 field goals and three 3-pointers. Junior Isaiah Moss scored 17 — 12 in the first half — and junior Tyler Cook had 12 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Luka Garza tied for the team lead with seven boards.
The Hawkeyes shot 46.3 percent from the field with eight 3-pointers, while Rutgers finished at 45.6 percent with seven 3-pointers. Rutgers edged Iowa on the boards, 34-33, including 14 offensive rebounds and forced 15 Iowa turnovers.
Freshman Ron Harper, Jr., led four Rutgers players in double figures with 16 points — 14 coming in the first half. Baker scored 13 points to go along with six rebounds and six assists.
Rutgers led 33-32 at the half thanks to Harper, Jr., and pushed its lead to five points early in the second half. The Hawkeyes used an 8-0 spurt in the middle of the second half to build a 54-49 lead before the Scarlet Knights regained the advantage — 57-56 — with 6:40 to play.
Iowa led from the 4:18 mark on until Baker’s 3-pointer in the waning seconds.
“We were able to persevere,” said Weiskamp. “We know teams are going to make runs at us, but we have stay calm, keep fighting, and keep attacking.”
QUOTING HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“Contrary to what a lot of people think, we diagram these things and it goes to perfection. It never goes to perfection. There are multiple options in a situation like that and you hope one of them works. The same thing happened in the last game. There are multiple options and Bohannon hits the 3, this time Joe hits the 3. It’s terrific for our team, it hurts if it’s the other team. If you have smart kids with character and you give them a frame work they’ll execute and at least you have a chance.”
- Iowa has won four of its last five road games. The Hawkeyes have won nine of their last 11 contests, dating back to Jan. 6.
- Fran McCaffery has led Iowa to 20 wins or more in five of the last seven seasons.
- Bohannon made three 3-pointers to move into sole possession of second place on Iowa’s all-time 3-pointers made list. Bohannon scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half.
- Iowa improves to 6-1 in games decided by five points or less.
ON THE HORIZON
The Hawkeyes return to action Tuesday, hosting No. 24 Maryland at 7 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are available by clicking HERE.