Iowa Men's Basketball

Praise for Jordan Bohannon came from many places

Hawkeye sophomore lauded for intentional miss of free throw Sunday

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon (3) misses a free throw that would have passed Iowa's consecutive free throw record set by Chris Street during the second half a game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, February 25, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon (3) misses a free throw that would have passed Iowa's consecutive free throw record set by Chris Street during the second half a game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, February 25, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — To call it a season-saver might be as melodramatic as a cable news talk show.

But after Jordan Bohannon deliberately missed a free throw Sunday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena that would have broken the late Chris Street’s 25-year-old Iowa record for consecutive made foul shots at 34, something good happened to Hawkeye basketball.

Many took notice of the moment with 2:15 left in Iowa’s 77-70 win over Northwestern. Many liked it, very much. ESPN’s “SportsCenter” devoted almost two minutes to it Sunday night. How many other Iowa games have gotten that kind of treatment from the network recently?

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt tweeted this late Sunday night:

On Dan Patrick’s national radio show Monday morning, sidekick Paul Pabst called it “a really classy move by Bohannon and a great program, Iowa basketball.” Patrick called it “cool.”

On Monday morning, Ohio Gov. John Kasich tweeted this:

Kasich, who probably doesn’t mind currying favor with Iowans given there’s a presidential election in 2020, has almost a million Twitter followers. Still, he probably wouldn’t have been sending praise to the Hawkeyes were they the No. 1 team in the nation.

That wouldn’t have gone over too big in Ohio, you know. This thing with Bohannon, people in all 50 states probably thought it was cool.

A story about Bohannon was even on Monday’s “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.” Holt called Bohannon’s gesture “an act of honor and respect.”

“My phone dings, it seems like every 15 seconds, from people who saw it for the first time.” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said Monday.

Bohannon, who had just come from doing a phone interview with Andy Katz for Katz’s podcast, said he had to stay off Twitter for a while because all the reaction got to be overwhelming.

“I was just honestly doing what was right,” Bohannon said about his missed free throw. “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, and obviously it just took off these past 24 hours. Which I think is pretty cool, just to be able to pay tribute and everyone remembers Chris Street again.”

McCaffery noted something that may have gone overlooked in all this.

“The amazing thing, I think,” he said, “is we’d all like to be in a position to decide. He knew he’d make the first two (late in the first half), he knew he’d make the two (in the game’s final minute) after he missed.

“Most people can’t do that. I couldn’t have, I know that.”

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Asked how good a free-thrower he was in his playing days, the former Pennsylvania player said “Terrible. If I was a better shooter, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

“I was the facilitator.” Then he laughed.

This story’s shelf-life may be short-lived. But that combined with Sunday’s win gave the Hawkeyes good feelings as they head to New York for their Wednesday Big Ten tournament game against Illinois in Madison Square Garden.

l Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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