INDIANAPOLIS – The fifth-seeded University of Iowa men’s basketball team defeated fourth-seeded Rutgers, 84-74, on Friday in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
The Scarlet Knights jumped out to an early 15-5 lead, but the Hawkeyes battled back. Junior Joe Toussaint found senior Connor McCaffery for a 3-point bucket off the fast break and then converted a layup of his own on the following possession to five Iowa its first lead at 20-19.
Iowa would go up 28-20 on a 15-1 scoring run and did not surrender the lead the rest of the way. The Hawkeyes led by as many as 12 in the first half and took a 41-32 advantage into the locker room.
The Hawkeye lead never slipped below eight points in the second half and reached as high as an 18-point differential. Iowa shot 49 percent (26-of-53) overall and 25-of-27 (92.6 percent) from the free throw line, marking a new program record for free throw percentage in a Big Ten Tournament game.
Iowa out-rebounded Rutgers, 34-28, improving to 20-0 this season in games where they win the battle on the glass. The Hawkeyes also outscored the Scarlet Knights, 20-4, on fastbreak opportunities and 18-0 on bench points.
Three Hawkeyes scored 16 points or more, including sophomore Keegan Murray, who posted 26 points for the second consecutive game. Murray hauled in eight rebounds and posted two assists, one block, and one steal.
“Keegan Murray was a problem for us from the opening tip,” said Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell.
Murray’s season total now rests at 750 points, setting a new school record for single season scoring. The Hawkeyes have posted new single season scoring records in each of the past three seasons, with Murray joining Luka Garza in 2021 as the only Iowa player to reach 700 points in a season.
“Last year I tried to learn from Luka as much as I can,” said Murray. “Honestly, when you have the National Player of the Year on your team, you want to resemble him. For me, to break his records, big credit to him and what he has done at the university and how he has carried himself and put in the footsteps to become great at Iowa. It’s an honor for me for sure.”
Sixth-year senior Jordan Bohannon made history of his own, becoming the third Hawkeye to eclipse the 2,000-point career scoring threshold on Friday. Bohannon posted 16 points on 7-of-8 free throw shooting and 3-of-6 shooting from behind the arc.
Sophomore Tony Perkins also posted 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers. Perkins was 2-of-2 from the line and added one rebound, one assist, and one steal to his total.
QUOTING HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“I am proud of our guys tonight. We beat a good team, in my opinion, one of the best-coached teams in the country. I have that much respect for (Rutgers head coach) Steve Pikiell and that group of veteran guys. I am proud how we battled back after a slow start. They came out on fire. We just kept coming. I think our defense was good. That was a hard team to out-rebound, and we did that so that, so that says a lot about our guys. I am happy and ready to move on.”
- Iowa won its 24th game of the season, its most wins in a season since winning 25 in 2013.
- Iowa has won four of the last five meetings against Rutgers.
- The Hawkeyes have won 10 of its last 12 games – winning all 10 by double figures – dating back to Feb. 6.
- Twenty-one of Iowa’s 24 victories have come by double digits this season.
- Iowa will play in a Big Ten Semifinals game for the sixth time and second straight season.
- Jordan Bohannon became just the third Hawkeye to score 2,000 points. Bohannon entered the game needing eight points to reach the milestone and the sixth year senior tallied 16 points today increasing his career total to 2,008. Bohannon has scored in double figures 99 times in his career.
- Bohannon made a team-best three triples today. He now has 448 career 3-pointers, the second most by a player from a major conference in NCAA history (457 by Duke’s J.J. Reddick).
- All-American Keegan Murray became the school’s single-season scoring champion, surpassing Luka Garza’s benchmark of 747 established last season today. Murray posted game bests in scoring (26) and rebounding (8). He has totaled 25 points or more an NCAA-best 15 times this year. He has posted 20 points or more 12 of the last 13 games, dating back to Jan. 31.
- Iowa made its first 22 free throw attempts, finishing the contest sinking 25-of-27 (.926). The 92.6 percentage is a new school Big Ten Tournament record.
- Tony Perkins registered 16 points, marking the fourth time in six games the sophomore has reached double figures.
- The Hawkeyes improved to 20-0 this season when outrebounding their opponents.
- The Hawkeyes have won six of their last seven games away from home (Maryland; Ohio State; Nebraska; Michigan; Northwestern; Rutgers).
- Iowa outscored the Scarlet Knights 20-4 (+16) in fastbreak points.
- Today was the first time Iowa competed against Rutgers in a Big Ten Tournament game.
- Iowa improved to 2-4 as the No. 5 seed in Big Ten Tournament games.
No. 24 Iowa (24-9, 12-8) will face Indiana (20-12, 9-11) in the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals on Saturday at approximately noon (CT) at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The game will be televised nationally on CBS and broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network.