IOWA CITY — It sounds like a touchy, feely movie title. Still, you probably enjoyed Sunday evening’s presentation of “How Jordan Bohannon got his Swag Back.”
Of course, it starred Iowa’s sophomore guard. There was a cameo from heaven.
With 2:15 left in Iowa’s 77-70 victory over Northwestern, Bohannon missed a free throw on purpose. Wait, there’s more. That free throw would’ve given Bohannon Iowa's consecutive free throw record. It would’ve bumped Chris Street, who was tragically killed during his junior season at Iowa in a 1993, out of the Iowa record books.
Bohannon didn’t want to do that. Looked up at his family before the free throw and he missed.
“That’s not my record to have,” Bohannon said.
Back to Bohannon’s swag.
In an 86-82 loss at Minnesota last Wednesday, Bohannon went scoreless in 21 minutes. Sunday, he played all 20 minutes in the first half and had 20 points. Bohannon finished with 25 points, with all of his shots coming from the 3-point arc, going 7 of 14.
His seven 3-pointers are a career high. On a night Bohannon tied a record held by Chris Street, he fell two 3-pointers short of Chris Kingsbury’s 3-point record for a game (nine). It was in play. Six of Bohannon’s 3s came in the first half.
“He needs to play like that for us and I told him that,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “I said you have to get your swag back.”
Consider the swag returned to the proper place. Bohannon matched his career high with six rebounds, had five assists, two steals and just one turnover.
“It was really frustrating the last couple of games, I haven’t been getting open looks,” Bohannon said. “Had a little sit-down with coach McCaffery a couple days ago. His statement was just ‘Get my swag back.’ That’s what he told me right before the game again. I wasn’t necessarily lacking confidence, but it was frustrating.”
Pretty good segue to the next part, Iowa’s frustrating season.
Iowa’s victory over Northwestern (15-16, 6-12), which Coach Chris Collins said was down to six players on Sunday night, moved the Hawkeyes to 13-18 and 4-14 in the Big Ten. That matches Iowa’s worst Big Ten records. It’s been 4-14 three times, with the last being 2010-11.
The victory over the Wildcats kept the Hawkeyes out of the No. 14 seed for next week’s Big Ten tournament in New York. Iowa is the No. 12 seed and will face No. 13 Illinois (14-17) at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Yes, Iowa has to win Wednesday or its season will end before March for the first time in nearly 80 years. Sunday’s victory did keep the Hawkeyes out of last place in the league, something that’s happened just once since 1939.
The Hawkeyes are headed to New York after a win. That’s the best thing they could’ve done Sunday night. Digging out of this is probably going to be a series of baby steps.
“We’re going take this momentum into the Big Ten tournament, that’s the way we need to play,” freshman forward Luka Garza said. “Besides giving Scottie Lindsey nine 3s, we defended really well. We have to play that hard with that much intensity on the defensive end. When we get stops and get into our transition game, we’re hard to stop.”
Oh yeah, Lindsey kept Northwestern in it. He poured in 32 points on 10 of 14 from the floor. Garza was right. He did hit nine 3-pointers and he was the only Wildcat in double figures.
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“We are a MASH unit right now,” Collins said. “We’re down to six guys. Give Iowa credit. I thought they had great energy and certainly Jordan was on fire.”
Tyler Cook did the work inside for Iowa, scoring 14 points and grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds. Garza had 18 points and Isiah Moss added 12.
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