Jordan Bohannon, Iowa men’s basketball team get Indianapolis revenge in second round of Big Ten Tournament

The Hawkeyes lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year at the Gainbridge Fieldhose, but broke records in their return to the venue on Thursday.


Dimia Burrell

Iowa men’s basketball guard Jordan Bohannon dribbles the ball during a 112-76 win over Northwestern in the second round of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Thursday, March 10.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

INDIANAPOLIS — The Iowa men’s basketball team solemnly walked off the Gainbridge Fieldhouse court last March after a 15-point loss in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament.

Point guard Jordan Bohannon sat on the bench for the final 17:44 of Oregon’s upset win over the No. 2 seed Hawkeyes. In what at the time was considered his last game as a Hawkeye, Bohannon didn’t score a point and was 0-of-4 shooting. His college career seemed to be over. And Iowa’s hopes of making a deep March Madness run were crushed.

Twelve months later, the Hawkeyes made some better memories in Indianapolis.

Bohannon, who returned for a sixth season with the Hawkeyes this year, swished a deep 3-pointer 90 seconds into Iowa’s 112-76 Big Ten Conference Tournament-opening win over Northwestern on Thursday. The fifth-seeded Hawkeeys set conference tournament records in 3-pointers made (19), points scored (112), field goals made (43), and margin of victory (36) in a dominant victory over the 12th-seeded Wildcats to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals.

“It obviously wasn’t a great ending the last time we were in this arena,” Bohannon said. “We played a really hot team in Oregon. I played one of the worst games of my career. That was really tough to stomach the entire offseason… Very frustrating and devastating how everything ended [last year]. It really affected me. I’m really fortunate [head coach Fran McCaffery] asked me to come back for another year, so I could get redemption at this place. Because we played really well today.”

Ten different Iowa players made at least one 3-pointer against Northwestern. None of them made as many as Bohannon. The 6-foot-1 guard scored 17 points and shot 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, including a couple shots from the midcourt logo. Bohannon’s five triples are one shy of the school record in a Big Ten Tournament game, a record he already holds with Jeff Horner (six in one game).

The Big Ten’s all-time leader in 3-pointers now has 445 for his career, the second most by a player from a major conference in NCAA history (457 by Duke’s J.J. Reddick).

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“You’ve got to tip your hat to Iowa today,” Northwestern head coach Chris Collins said. “Those guys are playing at a really high level. Anytime we had any kind of breakdown, they made us play for it. They shot the ball at an incredibly high clip. I don’t know how anybody beats them if they play like that.”

“We can’t play much better than we played tonight,” McCaffery added.

Along with Bohannon’s sharp shooting, Hawkeye forward Keegan Murray led all scorers with 26 points (11-of-16 from the field, 3-of-3 from deep) and added eight rebounds despite not playing the final 14 minutes of the game. Forward Filip Rebraca scored 10 points (5-of-5 field goals), recorded nine rebounds, dished out four assists, and blocked two shots, while shooting guard Tony Perkins distributed a career-high six assists.

Fifth-seeded Iowa will return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse for a matchup with fourth-seeded Rutgers in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Friday. The game is scheduled to tip-off at approximately 1 p.m. CT and will air on the Big Ten Network.

If Iowa’s performance in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday is any indication, the Hawkeyes are in a position to make more good memories on Friday.

“To me, they’re playing as well as anybody in the conference,” Collins said. “They’re very confident. They know their roles. They have a player [Keegan Murray] who, arguably, could be the best player in the country. They’re well-coached. This is going to be a tough out for anybody.”