‘Big-time onions:’ Jordan Bohannon provides March Madness with game-winning 3-pointer in Big Ten Tournament

The sixth-year senior banked-in a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining to lead Iowa to an 80-77 win over Indiana in the conference semifinals on Saturday.


Dimia Burrell

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon celebrates a 3-pointer during a men’s basketball game between No. 5 Iowa and No. 9 Indiana in the Big Ten Basketball Tournament Semifinals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers, 80-77. Bohannon scored 12 points, shooting a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the game to put Iowa in the lead. (Dimia Burrell/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

INDIANAPOLIS — In the final seconds of a tied game with a trip to the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game on the line, the Iowa men’s basketball team turned to the conference’s all-time leader in 3-pointers to do what he does best.

Point guard Jordan Bohannon banked-in a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining to lead Iowa to an 80-77 win over Indiana in the conference semifinals on Saturday. Bohannon’s game-winner marked the 452nd 3-pointer of his career. It may have been his biggest.

With the win, Iowa is headed to its first Big Ten Tournament Championship Game since 2006.

“You dream about it as a little kid, throwing up shots in the backyard, throwing up shots at the local YMCA, hoping one day you get to this stage,” Bohannon said. “And I was running in circles, I didn’t know where to go because I was so excited. To be in that moment, it’s been so much fun.”

Iowa trailed Indiana by as many as 12 points in the semifinals. The Hoosiers led by nine points with 5:29 remaining in the game. Then, the Hawkeyes got going. Iowa made nine of its last 11 shots from the floor. Bohannon tied the game at 71-71 with a 3-pointer with 2:27 remaining. Keegan Murray, who scored 32 points against the Hoosiers, hit his eighth 3-pointer of the game on the next possession to give the Hawkeyes their first lead of the second half.

After Iowa’s Tony Perkins turned the ball over and Indiana tied the game with 30 seconds remaining, it was Bohannon’s moment.

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery called a play where Bohannon was supposed to be open in the corner on the final possession. That didn’t happen. Indiana jammed up on the 6-foot-1 guard, causing Bohannon to sprint out to midcourt and take the ball from Connor McCaffery.

When the initial call didn’t work out, Fran McCaffery nearly called timeout. He’s glad he didn’t.

“Almost used it, thought about it and then he raised up,” Iowa’s 12th-year head coach said. “He just raised up and drilled it. As long as he’s shooting it, it’s probably better than anything I could have drawn up anyway.”

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The former Linn-Mar High School standout dribbled three times near the logo, stepped up, and quickly released a shot.

The bank was open.

“I thought it was going in the whole way,” Iowa forward Patrick McCaffery said. “It looked good to me from my vantage point. Jordan has made big shots his whole life. It was really cool. You just kind of get flooded with emotions.

“Mine was kinda like, ‘Holy shit.’”

The shot banked in off the glass, prompting the sixth-year senior to sprint in circles around the court in celebration while the Indiana-heavy crowd at Gainbridge Fieldhouse fell silent. Well, except for the cheers from Hawkeye fans. Keegan Murray calmed down the celebration, emphasizing that there was still time left on the clock and that the Hawkeyes needed to huddle up. Indiana’s halfcourt-heave at the buzzer was off the mark, clinching Iowa’s third win in three days in Indianapolis.

“Impossible,” CBS play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz yelled on the TV broadcast.

“Big-time onions by the wily vet,” CBS analyst Bill Raftery responded. “It pays to stay in school.”

After the game, as his teammates chanted “JBo” and the normally red-faced Fran McCaffery cracked a rare smile, Bohannon placed an “IOWA” sticker on the championship game area of a bracket up in the Hawkeye locker room. Iowa will play Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game at 2:30 p.m. CT on Sunday on the same floor the Hawkeye women’s basketball team won a tournament title on last weekend.

March Madness? Bohannon took that literally. Now Iowa is a win away from a little more of it.

“It’s stuff you dream about,” Patrick McCaffery said. “You dream about playing on Championship Sunday and watching Selection Sunday in the locker room after a win — a Big Ten Championship. And that’s what we’re gonna do.”