Bohannon, Murray step up in No. 5 Hawkeyes’ 77-73 win over No. 25 Badgers

Both Hawkeyes made some key plays late in the game that helped Iowa men’s basketball outlast Wisconsin on Sunday.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon controls the ball during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, March 7, 2021. The Hawkeyes, celebrating senior day, defeated the Badgers, 77-73. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Isaac Goffin, Assistant Sports Editor

In the first half of No. 5 Iowa’s matchup with No. 25 Wisconsin on Sunday, it seemed like fifth-year point guard Jordan Bohannon wasn’t going to piece together a heroic senior day performance.

Bohannon missed all four of his first-half field goal attempts, three of which came from the 3-point line.

But as it became apparent that Iowa needed an outside shooter to step up after junior forward Joe Wieskamp went down with a right lower leg injury in the first half, Bohannon donned his cape, lifting No. 5 Iowa men’s basketball to a 77-73 victory.

RELATED: No. 5 Hawkeyes overcome Wieskamp injury, defeat Badgers on senior day

With the contest tied at 71, Bohannon missed an attempt from downtown with under 35 seconds left in the game. But he was fouled. The Marion, Iowa, native proceeded to hit all three of his foul shots to give Iowa a lead that it would not relinquish.

“It was just me being aggressive, late-game,” Bohannon said. “I didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half, but I got some open looks in the second half. My teammates were finding me, and I knew I had kind of an advantage going down the floor knowing [Wisconsin’s D’Mitrik] Trice had a couple fouls. He was in foul trouble, and I knew I could take advantage of that, attacking him and doing what I can. I got a couple looks in transition, and then a couple looks off the ball screen as well, but that was kind of my mindset moving forward, especially after drawing a couple fouls in the first half.”

Bohannon wasn’t the only Hawkeye that played heroically in the second half, as freshman forward Keegan Murray made two key plays in the final minutes of Sunday’s game as well.

With under 2:20 left, Murray secured an offensive rebound off a missed Luka Garza 3-pointer, made a layup, and was fouled. Murray then proceeded to covert the charity shot, securing three points the old-fashioned way.

After junior guard Connor McCaffery missed a go-ahead free throw attempt with around 46 seconds remaining in the second half, Murray corralled another pivotal offensive rebound and called a timeout.

“Just before the shot, I knew that I was going to be isolated,” Murray said. “It was just going to be me and whoever is boxing me out. I just felt like I could get around him pretty well. Then, before I knew if I had a rebound, I would have a kickout, but I lost my balance, so I had to call a timeout.”

Before Bohannon even took the court, a gesture from a small group of mask-wearing Hawkeye fans made his senior day special. Led by Hawkeye Elvis, fans welcomed Iowa’s seniors to Carver-Hawkeye Arena one last time, clapping and cheering them on as they entered the building.

“Almost brought a tear to my eye,” Bohannon said. “I got really emotional walking towards the doors for the final time and seeing all the fans line up. I wish I could’ve hugged each one of them and thanked them for the support they have given this university. A lot of great people are from this state of Iowa. I’ve met amazing people throughout these years, and it was really special for them to give us support and show us kind of a welcoming, and thanking us for everything we’ve sacrificed this year and continuing to sacrifice to get to that goal of winning what we want to win.”

With Sunday’s win in their pockets, the Hawkeyes are now locked into the 2021 Big Ten Tournament as the No. 3 seed. They will start the tournament in the quarterfinals Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

With postseason basketball on the horizon, the Hawkeyes will need players like Murray to continue to play well.

“He can play at any one of the five positions,” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “He can make a play for himself or somebody else. He can shoot it outside. He can get to the rim. He really plays defense. He’s got a really good ability to play through a mistake which is hard for a young guy, so I’m really proud of him for that. But he just has a really good sense of where to go and where to be. Even if he forgets, he just always seems to end up in the right place, and that takes tremendous feel for how to play and that’s what he has.”

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