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Iowa 87, Northwestern 72: Gimme That

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Bohannon back?

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Your #10 Iowa Hawkeyes rebounded from a gut punch loss and took down the conference leading, #19 Northwestern Wildcats in a crispy 87-72 win.

Northwestern held a five-point lead for the first 10 minutes of the game, but a Jordan Bohannon jumper and a CJ Fredrick made three pulled Iowa ahead, and the Hawkeyes would lead the remainder of the game.

It was the CJ Fredrick and Pete Nance show in the first half—each had 17 points while going 3-4 from deep to lead both teams after the buzzer.

I’ll mention here that Nance had hit just 6 threes all season prior to tonight. It felt like another Random Guy (can you be random if you’re Larry Nance’s ((other) son?)) was going to torch Iowa for a career game, again. But Fran stopped that from happening as Nance finished with 21. Despite shooting 9-15 from the floor he was held back in the second frame.

A Miller Kopp three-pointer cut Iowa’s lead early in the second half, but three straight threes from Bohannon followed a bunny from Garza and that shut the door on Northwestern’s hopes of an undefeated conference record.

We’ve been lamenting Bohannon’s play between the North Carolina game and now. I wrote early in the season that many of Iowa’s warts are covered by just having Luka Garza. And everything looks as smooth as a baby’s bottom if Bohannon is hitting his shots. He finished the game with 24 on a 6-9 effort from deep.

To quote Jess Settles, we got pre-hip surgery Jordan Bohannon tonight.

This also feels like the game where Fran McCaffery broke the seal on Keegan Murray. This was without question his best outing as a Hawkeye, and he was rewarded with 21 minutes of playing time.

Whenever it looked like Northwestern was going to go on a run of its own, Murray was there to meet a ball-handler at midcourt and force a turnover, or stop Ryan Young in his tracks before getting to the rim, or just do things like this:

Murray ended with 9 points, 2 boards and 2 steals and had the second-best +/- of 16 on the night. Credit to Fran to identifying Murray-sized holes in his lineups, and plugging them up with a Keegan Murray.

The win definitely feels uplifting, especially after see Minnesota stick it to Michigan State last night. Four of Iowa’s next five opponents are currently ranked, and momentum is going to be as important as ever in this bloody Big Ten.

The rest

  • Joe Toussaint banged his knee in the first half and never returned to the game. Something to monitor, and it’d be a major bummer if it turned into a thing.
  • With 18 points, Garza’s 20-point streak is dead :(
  • Pete Nance was assessed a really weak technical IMO.
  • Boilerhawk mentioned this is the same inbounds play that Kansas used to beat Texas Tech two weeks ago: