After off-the-court drama ruined the preamble to what should have been another exciting Friday night showdown at Carver, the #21/19 Iowa Hawkeyes (21-6, 10-6) found away to beat the Indiana Hoosiers (13-14, 4-12), 76-70.
Jordan Bohannon took the lid off of the basket and Carver-Hawkeye Arena with a three-pointer to tie the game at 63-63 after never leading in the prior 21 minutes and 49 seconds. Luka Garza force a Romeo Langford miss on a stepback three on Indiana’s final possession.
After winning the tip in overtime, Iowa couldn’t take the lead on their first two possessions. Langford missed the front end of a one-and-one on IU’s second possession and Iowa went straight to Tyler Cook who gave Iowa a lead. Juwan Morgan answered with a pair of free throws before Bohannon hit another three off a rebound from a three he missed in the previous seconds. After a De’Ron Davis and-one, it looked like Morgan broke up a pass to Bohannon pass to Cook. But sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, as Bohannon corralled it for a wide open three on the wing for a 71-68 lead.
The Hawkeyes were able to keep a lead but needed a big play after a set stagnated and forced a timeout up 72-70 with seven seconds on the shot clock. Bohannon quickly retrieved his inbound to Cook, dribbled to the top of the key, and hit a fadeaway three-pointer which sealed the game. He finished with 17 points, all in the second half or overtime.
While everyone will remember Jordan Bohannon’s four clutch threes in the last six minutes of gameplay, the game was once another slog for the Hawkeyes as they didn’t have a basket outside of the paint throughout all of the first half. In that vein, it felt like a game for Iowa’s interior to take over. While they never really dominated, Iowa’s first three baskets came off of offensive rebounds. Luka Garza had nine of Iowa’s first 15 points but went to the bench with 9:44 remaining in the first half.
Additionally, Iowa got Indiana’s starting bigs in foul trouble, as Juwann Morgan and De’Ron Davis spent the last 8 minutes of the first half on the bench. Tyler Cook and Ryan Kriener found success throughout the first half and combined for 11 points in the frame. Unfortunately, Indiana found life off the bench from Evan Fitzner for six points. He kept the Hoosiers afloat while their starters sat with foul trouble through his activity as he received praise from Andy Katz throughout the game. The teams finished the half tied at 28-28 as the Hawkeyes could only manage 40% shooting in the frame.
After allowing Indiana to sprint to an 8-0 lead in the first half, Iowa allowed six unanswered points to start the second half. Cook and Garza continued to pace the Hawkeyes as they had 17 combined points in the second half and finished the with 18 and 16 respectively.
It was another game of grit and digging deep and all the intangible things you hear this time of year when the shots don’t fall. The finished with a split of .419 FG/.280 3P/.680 FT but found enough on the margins - just 12 turnovers and 15 (!!!) offensive rebounds - to keep contact with an IU squad allegedly battling for their NCAA Tournament life. Seriously, it felt like Iowa was playing that game 5 on 10 with the way some of the calls were going and the way-too-superfluous coverage of Fox Sports 1 trying to convince the casual viewer that no really, this IU team can make the tournament.
In the end, the win is what matter. Iowa got it, bullshit aside, and likely sealed their fate as a Tournament team after taking the last two seasons on hiatus.
- Nicholas Baer is going to be missed next year. 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, a couple assists. Total floor game from him with just 5 points on 1/5 shooting. He also closed the game for Iowa as Joe Wieskamp sat after a tough game. Don’t worry, though, it wasn’t injury-related for Joe. Wieskamp did have a couple huge first half to help Iowa’s offense keep moving forward.
- Iowa held Indiana to .98 points per possession, the first time they held a team under 1 PPP since the Michigan game three weeks ago. It was Iowa’s best back-to-back defensive performances (1.02 PPP vs. Maryland) since the Northwestern and Ohio State games.
- Indiana had five guys reach double-digits: Juwan Morgan (15), Romeo Langford (14), Rob Phinisee (13), Evan Fitzner (11), and De’Ron Davis (10). Overall they shot .413 FG/.222 3P/.545 FT.
- It would appear as if Fran has shifted Iowa’s strategy with offensive rebounding. Prior to the Rutgers game, Iowa’s ORB% peaked at 35.3% but they’ve corralled 37.5%, 42.9%, 37.5% of their rebounds each of the last three games.
Iowa’s next game is at Ohio State on Tuesday, February 26th.