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

Iowa’s Tony Perkins puts on show for sold-out home crowd

The fourth-year guard prevailed from his first-half struggle and ignited the Hawkeye offense in the second half and nailed the game-winner in overtime.

Tony Perkins has been in Iowa’s starting lineup every game this season, averaging a team-high 30.3 minutes per contest this season. Yet on Saturday afternoon in an 88-86 victory over No. 20 Wisconsin, Perkins found himself on the bench after just 3:06 of competition. 

Iowa fell into a double-digit deficit four minutes into the ball game, partially because of Perkins’ sloppy start. He committed an uncharacteristic turnover – seemingly unaware of trailing defender Chucky Hepburn after blowing past him on the full-court press. Hepburn poked the ball out from behind, leading to an easy Badger basket at the cup. 

A disgruntled Fran McCaffery pulled his starting point guard from the game and replaced him with backup Brock Harding. But while Perkins returned to the game just over a minute later, the fourth-year’s contributions didn’t arrive till the clutch, when once again he lost control of the ball on offense. 

But this time around, the six-foot-4, 205-pounder from Indianapolis quelled any chance of another turnover – this time corralling the rock and laying in the game-winner with 1.3 ticks left in overtime. 

“Tony [Perkins] took the second half over,” McCaffery said postgame. “Not that I’m surprised, that’s who he is.”

Upon being subbed back in for Harding, Perkins immediately assisted a Payton Sandfort mid-range jumper – one of the very few bright spots for him in the first half as he finished with two points, two assists, and one rebound on 0-for-3 shooting from the field through the first 20 minutes of play. 

Perkins’ heroic second half started with a free throw line jumper to give the Hawkeyes their first lead of the game. 


Though that was his only assist for the entire second half, Perkins’ impact was consistent from that point on, logging 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe, including the layup to tie the game at 78 apiece with 42 seconds remaining and the missed shot at the end of regulation. 

After a back-and-forth overtime period that saw Perkins go silent, it was him who McCaffery wanted to get the ball with eight seconds remaining. He got the ball off the handoff from Freeman, drove to the cup, faked out his defender, and put in the game-winning shot with 1.3 seconds remaining to seal the upset win. 


After the buzzer sounded, Perkins was mobbed by his teammates. He became visibly emotional as he was thinking about his late grandmother after scoring the game-winning field goal. 

“I know she’s up top watching me, but you know, it’s a different feeling when she’s right here watching me face-to-face,”  he said in a postgame interview with Big Ten Network. “I wish she was able to see it … She probably would’ve been the loudest person in the gym.”

Perkins tipped his hat to Harding for his performance, but the starting point guard didn’t let his early benching discourage him.

“My coaches and my teammates [were] there for me, [they] believe in me,” Perkins said. “I walked through the locker room at halftime and told them, ‘That’s on me.’… Just come back out there and do what you can.”

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About the Contributor
Chris Meglio
Chris Meglio, Sports Reporter
Chris Meglio is a first year student at the University of Iowa studying a double major in sport studies and journalism. He will be working as a sports journalist for The Daily Iowan covering women's volleyball for the fall sports season.