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Hawkeye Basketball 2021-22 Top 10: #4 - Connor’s One Shining Moment

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Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Welcome to the 2021-22 Iowa Basketball Top 10! To review previous entries, click the links below:
#10 - The UVA Sequence
#9 - The Tony Perkins Experience
#8 - Keegan’s Penn State Tip Drill
#7 - The Billy Taylor Game
#6 - Mt. Bohannon Erupts!
#5 - The Northwestern Massacre

#4 - Connor’s One Shining Moment

Ok, the title of this moment is unfair to Connor. He was awesome the last 6 weeks of the year. He made 3s again - he’s the biggest reason the second Penn State game was close (4-7 from 3 in the first half before injury hit, plus 6 rebounds and 3 steals). He got hot from there. 2-2 against Michigan State, 3-3 at Nebraska, and 5-9 against Northwestern. He hit this shot to ice the Ohio State game.

He plays multiple positions and can even body up in the post in a pinch. I could watch him toss entry passes all day, especially when a player re-posts to get that perfect angle established with Connor. He always puts that right on the money. His ability to direct traffic, on both ends, is coach-like. He’ll be in that business, even if his mom doesn’t want him going into coaching. He’s made for it.

This moment though was the biggest shot of his career.

Iowa led the Big Ten Tournament Final for much of the game. Purdue closed in throughout the second half and were tied at 51 for a long stretch of the half before two Payton Sandfort 3s extended Iowa’s lead (SHOUTOUT TO PAYTON AND HIS FOREVER GREEN LIGHT). Two Keegan Murray free throws pushed Iowa’s lead to 63-55 with 4:15 left. Iowa’s right on the verge of pulling away. Then Purdue, one of the few teams in the Big Ten that can go on those wild runs like Iowa, goes on a lightning-quick 7-0 run in all of 40 seconds. They get two Trevion Williams free throws, a Jayden Ivey lay-up, then a knuckleball 3 from Eric Hunter, Jr. that dies on the back of the rim then falls through (I swear this happened to Iowa 3 or 4 times this year). Fran rightly calls a timeout to end the run.

Up steps Connor. Iowa’s possession is dying before Connor gets the ball on the wing with the shot clock running down, guarded by Williams. Connor goes old man at the Y on this play, and, well, here’s a clip. I couldn’t find this play on it’s own, but it led this tweet from The Journey:

Connor then made the free throw for a 3-point play. Those 3 points were the only 3 points for the game. 3 points, 4 rebound, and an assist. Such a Connor line and such a Connor shot, his only made field goal of the game. Off the front iron, off the glass, and in.

But those 3 points? That stopped the bleeding and put pause to any thought of a Purdue comeback, and it’s due to this one shining moment from Connor. The shot gave Iowa a Big Ten Tournament title, their first since 2006 and their third overall. Which, hey, that’s pretty awesome - the official all-time Big Ten Tournament championship leaderboard is Michigan State with 6, Ohio State with 4 (one vacated, against Iowa in 2002), then a logjam of Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin with 3 apiece (Michigan has 2 officially, with one vacated in 1998). That’s pretty good given Iowa was basically a non-entrant in this competition for 15 years. By the way, Purdue has only won this competition once. Which is odd.

Good thing is, for all of the Connor haters, he might be back next year!