Jordan Bohannon goes off in must-win game

Iowa needed a win against Minnesota on Tuesday. Thanks to Jordan Bohannon\'s heroics, that\'s what the Hawkeyes received, plus some confidence moving into the toughest part of their schedule.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Katina Zentz

Iowa's Jordan Bohannon (3) passes the ball to a teammate during the NCAA men's basketball game between Iowa and Minnesota at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. The Hawkeyes are going into the game with a Big Ten conference record of 2-8. Iowa went on to defeat the Golden Gophers 94-80. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Adam Hensley, [email protected]

Say what you want, but Iowa’s game against Minnesota was a must-win.

Following the Hawkeyes’ 94-80 win, they find themselves in a gauntlet of a stretch, traveling on the road at Penn State, back home against Michigan State, and then on the road once more against Ohio State and Michigan.

If Iowa wants any shot of getting a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament at the end of February, it needed a win against Minnesota, and that’s just what it got on Tuesday.

Jordan Bohannon, who fueled the Hawkeyes in important games last season, returning to his sharp-shooting ways, seemingly draining everything – especially his shots in the second half – against Minnesota.

“I’m just trying to get a win every time I step on the floor,” he said. “Obviously, all of us hate losing and it’s been a really frustrating season, because we don’t want our season to go like this. I could care less about my statistics, but when I’m able to be more aggressive our team flows a lot better.”

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the sophomore this season, though.

Bohannon got his rhythm back against Nebraska on Jan. 27, scoring 24 points and knocking down six 3-pointers, but prior to that game, the two previous contests weren’t as friendly.

The guard found himself in a funk, scoring 13 points in the win over Wisconsin (1-for-6 from 3-point range) and 9 in the loss to Purdue (1-for-5 from 3-point range).

“He’s a tough kid,” Tyler Cook said. “He’s his own worst critic. It’s good to see him get out of that and start playing great as he has as of late. He’s the type of guy that can get himself going and get other guys going. When you got somebody who can do that, it’s special.”

But against the Gophers, the Hawkeyes’ top 3-point threat shined from beyond the arc, finishing with a scorching 4-of-8 stat line from 3-point range en route to a 20-point performance.

“Phenomenal shooter, we gave him way too much space,” Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino said. “You can’t do that, you can’t give him any space. He moves well.”

But it wasn’t all shooting. Bohannon dished out 10 assists to add to his hot touch; the offense flowed through Bohannon, but the ball never stuck in his hands, such as this bucket from downtown courtesy of Nicholas Baer.

When the final buzzer sounded, six Hawkeyes scored in double digits – the most since the season opener.

Bohannon’s 20-and-10 outing was his sixth double-double of the season and tied the school record for most point-assist double-doubles in school history.

Regardless, a game like this boosts Bohannon’s confidence. And with a player with a makeup like Bohannon’s, his coach doesn’t want that confidence to falter.

“For him, he has supreme confidence in his ability to make that shot,” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “He knows I have the confidence in him to just — he can pull whenever he wants. Like in the first half we’re up 5-1, and he pulls on the break, 1-on-4, I don’t have a problem with that.”

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