Iowa Men's Basketball

Jordan (Bohannon) is his name, coldblooded heroics is his game

Guard's last-second bomb sinks Northwestern, saves Hawkeyes

Brenda and Gordy Bohannon of Marion apparently knew what they were doing when they named the youngest of their four future college basketball-playing sons “Jordan.”

There was a certain NBA superstar who had a propensity for late-game, coldblooded heroics. That fellow scored 39 points for the victorious Chicago Bulls in the deciding Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals for the fifth of his and their six championships. That was six days before baby Bohannon was born.

“No,” Gordy said Sunday night when asked if Iowa junior guard Jordan Bohannon was named for Michael Jordan.

“Although, Michael Jordan was our family’s hero growing up with all the kids, so ... yeah, actually he was.”

The Hawkeyes’ Jordan finished a Big Ten Player of the Week week with a 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds left to give his team an 80-79 win over Northwestern that, to severely understate matters, was improbable.

Iowa trailed 72-57 with 4:30 left, and 76-65 with 2:09 remaining. The Hawkeyes were running on ice offensively for almost the whole game. Bohannon had zero points in the game’s first 34 minutes and 30 seconds. He finished with 15.

The final three came after Iowa’s Connor McCaffery inbounded the ball near the Iowa bench with three seconds to go.

“We ran a play with multiple options,” Hawkeyes Coach Fran McCaffery said.

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“Jordan screened for me,” Iowa’s Tyler Cook said, “because our first look on that particular play was a lob, try to get a quick two. Connor read how the defense was playing me. They weren’t sure on their switches. Jordan got open and he hit a shot. So, it was a good play by those two guys.”

“Coach drew up a good set for us out of bounds,” Bohannon said. “I knew if I was going to get a good screen on T.C., I was either going to be open or T.C. would have a lob to him.”

Bohannon was open. He shot from 2 feet behind the top of the arc, over 6-foot-4 Wildcat Anthony Gaines. Swish.

“I shot a shot that I’ve shot ever since I was little,” said Bohannon.

It was him torpedoing Northwestern down the stretch the same way he shot the Hawkeyes past Indiana three nights before in Bloomington, with 11 points in the last 91 seconds.

It lifted the 20th-ranked Hawkeyes to their third-straight win, and to 19-5 overall and 8-5 in the Big Ten. It came after 38 minutes of frustration, of Northwestern (12-11) playing a beautiful game on the road before falling to 3-9 in the conference.

The Wildcats shot 51.8 percent from the field and out-rebounded Iowa 37-26. But they couldn’t close, and the Hawkeyes wouldn’t quit.

“We said we weren’t going down without a fight,” Bohannon said. “We did a really good job with that. We were down 15 with five minutes left to go. We could have just folded there, and that’s something we would have done the last couple years. But we stayed connected.”

“We established early that the press was going to be effective,” Fran McCaffery said. “We established early that we were going to drive the ball. We were in the bonus with 12 minutes to go in the half. Those are things that are working in your benefit if you’re down coming down the stretch.

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“There can’t be any panic. You’ve got to execute. Got to know what we’re doing. You’ve got to stay together. They did all that.”

And, you’ve got to make that last shot.

“It’s something I’ve always practiced,” Bohannon said. “One dribble to the right, to the left, kind of leaning shots.”

No, he isn’t Air Jordan. But after Bohannon hit the deciding basket, Connor McCaffery sprinted to him and lifted him off the ground. Inside Carver and beyond, Hawkeye fans did some leaping of their own because of a moment they’ll long treasure.

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

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