BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — This is Iowa men’s basketball 2019:
Center Luka Garza, who had scored at least 19 points in each of the Hawkeyes’ previous five games, was in game-long foul trouble and had but four points in 13 minutes. And so ...
Tyler Cook picked up the slack for Iowa big men Thursday night at Indiana with a 21-point, seven-rebound, four-assist game after being held to seven points against Michigan the game before.
Starting guard Isaiah Moss had his second-straight scoreless game after topping 20 points on Jan. 20 and Jan. 27. And so ...
Guard Jordan Bohannon, who had a total of 13 points in Iowa’s previous three games, scored 11 in the last 91 seconds in the Hawkeyes’ 77-72 win over the Hoosiers, and had a game-high 25.
Now Iowa sits at 7-5 in the Big Ten, 18-5 overall. After beating Michigan last Friday in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes had a challenge every bit as formidable in beating Indiana here, with the Hoosiers fresh off a win at Michigan State.
It was different players stepping up on a different night, and everyone on the team recognizing what had to be done.
Having smart offensive possessions was one of those things. Making up for the foul trouble Garza and Ryan Kriener encountered was another. Getting the ball to the hot hands — Cook and Joe Wieskamp in the first half and Bohannon down the stretch — was one more.
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“I think it’s maturity and understanding the necessity of following our game plan on the road against a very explosive team,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said.
It’s hard to tell what was more impressive in the last two minutes as the Hoosiers kept pushing and the Hawkeyes kept answering. Was it Bohannon draining a pair of 3-pointers in those last 91 seconds. Or was it the way he got open and his teammates worked to get him loose and get him the ball on three straight occasions in the last 27 seconds so he could be the one getting fouled and shooting free throws?
“It was execution on behalf of everybody,” McCaffery said.
It was three different plays from the bench. It was Connor McCaffery being patient and crisp with the inbound passes. It was teammates setting screens in the right spots. It was Bohannon shaking free when everyone of the 17,222 people here knew he was the target.
“I just worked my butt off to try to get open,” he said.
Bohannon cashed 5 of 6 foul shots and the last four in those final 27 seconds, all on one-and-one situations.
“Coach drew up some good plays to get me the ball,” Bohannon said. “He’s one of the best X’s-and-O’s guys in the country for a reason.
“I’ve shot thousands, millions — close to a million — free throws my entire life. I’m really confident with my stroke at the line.”
Before the free throws came Bohannon’s back-to-back 3s.
Iowa’s lead was cut to 66-63 when Juwan Morgan had a spectacular one-hand putback for a basket off the glass. Fourteen seconds later, Bohannon hit a corner 3. Indiana quickly came back downcourt and got a Morgan dunk to make it 69-65. Late in the shot clock on Iowa’s next possession, Bohannon buried a long 3.
He stood still for a moment afterward, motioning for the Hoosiers’ student section to be silent.
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“When he hit that 3 and shushed the crowd, I was laughing,” said Wieskamp, who never laughs during a game.
“He’s a great guy, a great player. For him to hit those big shots, it couldn’t happen to a better person. He works so hard every day.”
Bohannon said the showmanship was because “A lot of fans on the baseline or on the sideline were talking were talking crap the entire game. I guess I had to take my game to another level in the second half.”
It was Bohannon’s night, it was Cook’s night, it was Iowa’s night. The game before against Michigan, it was Garza’s night, it was Kriener’s night, it was Iowa’s night.
“It’s not rocket science,” Cook said. “We just go to whoever’s open and we’ve got a lot of guys that can make a lot of plays.”
Moss hasn’t scored in two games. Would anyone be surprised if he lights up Northwestern Sunday in Carver? It looks like it’s his turn again.
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