Iowa tops Northwestern with 15-point comeback

The Hawkeyes were down by 15 with under five minutes to play, but a run of 3-pointers helped Iowa come out victorious over the Wildcats.


Lily Smith

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning 3-pointer the Iowa/Northwestern men’s basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, February 10, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats, 80-79.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

It was a solid day of basketball in Carver-Hawkeye for the Northwestern players wearing gray and purple, but it was better for the Iowa player wearing the white No. 3 jersey.

Trailing Northwestern by 15 with 4:30 remaining, Jordan Bohannon and the Hawkeyes went on the run of the season to down the Wildcats on Sunday, 80-79.

“That was a really bizarre game,” said Bohannon, Iowa’s hero for the second game in a row.

Northwestern took advantage of a lackadaisical Hawkeye squad for the majority of the game until the final minutes.

The Wildcats had a 12-point lead with 2:48 left in the game, but a Bohannon 3-pointer from the right wing cut the advantage to single digits. Then, Northwestern guard Ryan Taylor found a lane to the bucket for a layup to put the Wildcats up 11.

That’s when Iowa really turned it on. Freshman Joe Wieskamp took on the role of a veteran, hitting a shot from deep and making the deficit 8.

Then Bohannon drained another 3. Then Wieskamp hit a layup, and all of a sudden, the Hawkeyes were within 3.

Two Dererk Pardon free throws extended the Wildcat lead to 5 before Bohannon found a lane to make a layup.

Wildcat A.J. Taylor proceeded to miss the front end of a 1-on-1 to give Iowa a real chance, and Isaiah Moss cashed in, converting a difficult runner in the lane.

Vic Law then hit 1 free throw and missed another, putting Northwestern up by 2, and after a kicked ball violation allowed Iowa to run a play, Bohannon completed the comeback with an off-balance 3, fading to the right.

“I’ve always felt comfortable with those shots,” Bohannon said. “It’s something I’ve always practices – one dribble to the right, to the left, kind of leaning shots. We drew up a good set and just got the ball in my hands.”

Before the Cinderella ending, though, things didn’t look good for Iowa.

The Hawkeyes struggled in the first half, allowing Law to go off for 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

Northwestern went into the locker room at the break with a 41-35 advantage.

Lily Smith
Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp to grab a rebound during the Iowa/Northwestern men’s basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, February 10, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats, 80-79.

The Hawkeyes struggled more after halftime. Tyler Cook scored 7 of Iowa’s first 9 points after intermission, but things continued to go downhill.

Iowa’s next three possessions included 3 turnovers and after a missed shot by Iowa, Law was in the right place at the right time, finishing a massive putback dunk.

Northwestern also found success in rebounding – a lot of it. The last time the two squads met, Iowa outrebounded the Wildcats, 40-32. This time around, Northwestern racked up a 37-26 advantage on the boards.

Some of Iowa’s unimpressive performance inside could be the lack of Luka Garza’s production. In his past two games, Garza has scored 4 points while racking up 9 fouls.

But despite the struggles, Iowa’s dormant offense woke up and responded by hitting its last 7 shots of the game, thanks to solid defense setting it up.

“The activity in the press was as good as it’s been all year – we differentiated how we played it,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “Then, we started trapping them on the sides, chasing them on the sides, got some trapping situations. Consequently, they weren’t as aggressive scoring the ball.

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

After experiencing all the craziness that is Big Ten basketball, Iowa can feel more prepared for the postseason.

“I think just executing in the late game is going to play a big part come March,” Wieskamp said. “We know those games are going to be tough… It shows that we can persevere from down 15 and continue to fight.”