The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

After several bitter close losses, Iowa men’s basketball finally comes through in the clutch in 79-77 win

Patrick McCaffery nailed four clutch free throws, and Josh Dix and Tony Perkins chipped in timely buckets to seal the victory.
Theodore Retsinas
Members of the Iowa mens basketball team celebrate a three-pointer during a men’s basketball game between the Iowa and the Maryland at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024. The Terrapins defeated the Hawkeyes, 69-67.

After coming up short in losses against Maryland and Indiana, the Iowa men’s basketball team finally came through on its home floor with a 79-77 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes. 

“It’s a huge win for our program,” head coach Fran McCaffery said. 

“This is the type of win that gets you momentum and strings something together,” Payton Sandfort added. 

It was a tight game throughout, and as the game came down to the final stretch, the crowd inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena was expecting the worst. With 30 seconds to go, Ohio State was trailing by only a point, but Roddy Gayle Jr. was called for a double dribble, and the Hawkeyes regained possession. 

The Buckeyes were forced to foul, and they chose to foul Patrick McCaffery, who came into the game shooting 76 percent from the charity stripe on the year. It’s been an up-and-down season for Patrick McCaffery, who has battled through illness and injury, and pressure-packed free throws were staring him in the face. 

The senior forward stepped up to the line and knocked down both free throws to give his team a three-point lead. Immediately after nailing both free throws, he tapped on his wrist, as if to signal “ice in my veins.” 

On the ensuing possession, the Buckeyes knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the lead to one, and it was up to the Hawkeyes to close the game at the line. McCaffery was fouled again and stepped to the line for two more foul shots. 

He made both to give Iowa the lead with under 10 seconds to go. On the following possession, Ohio State intentionally missed the free throw, but the ball squirmed around on the floor and ran out the clock, and the Hawkeyes had finally clinched victory in the clutch. 

Despite the tenuous moment, Patrick McCaffery knew that he was going to make all of the free throws, even before he attempted them. 

“I’ve shot so many free throws in my life, and I consider myself to be a good foul shooter, ” McCaffery said. 

“He’s been dealing with the effects of the injury, but he was terrific tonight and I’m very proud of him, Fran McCaffery said. 

Besides the clutch foul shots from McCaffery, Iowa got some clutch minutes from Tony Perkins and Josh Dix. A second-year guard, Dix finished with 15 points, with 10 of those points coming in the second half. Most of his shots came from mid-range, and the Buckeyes had no answer for it. 

“Josh is so good in the mid-range area, it feels like he’s automatic,” Patrick McCaffery said. “He makes it at such a high clip.” 

“He’s a very special player, and I think he’s going to do a lot of special things in his basketball career,” Sandfort added. 

 Perkins was also instrumental down the stretch for the Hawkeyes, and he chipped in a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds. Perkins is one of three seniors on the roster, and his leadership and consistent play have paid dividends for this Iowa squad. 

“His game continues to mature, and you’re now seeing a competent guy who knows what we want and knows what he has to do to lead this team,” Fran McCaffery said. 

The Hawkeyes still have a lot of work to do if they want to make a run to the NCAA Tournament, but finally closing out a game is a major step in the right direction. 

“Our goal is to make the NCAA Tournament and we know that there are enough games on the table that we can win,” Patrick McCaffery said. “If we continue to win those games, then that’s going to be the outcome.” 

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About the Contributors
Brad Schultz, Sports Reporter
Brad Schultz is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Sports Studies. This is first year working as a sports reporter and he has a deep passion and love for sports. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Brad is a contributor for Saturday Blitz, a college football site, with his content primarily covering Iowa and the Big Ten.
Theodore Retsinas, Photojournalist
Theodore Retsinas is a freshman at the University of Iowa studying Neuroscience.