Red-hot Jordan Bohannon leads No. 5 Iowa vs. Northwestern

NCAA Men's Basketball

Jordan Bohannon may be Iowa’s all-time leader with 320 3-point baskets, but he wasn’t much of a factor while scoring in single digits in eight of the team’s first nine games.

Things have been a lot different during the No. 5 Hawkeyes’ four-game winning streak, and the senior looks to continue his hot stretch when Iowa (11-2, 5-1 Big Ten) visits Northwestern on Sunday in Big Ten play at Evanston, Ill.

Bohannon is 19 of 30 — a lava-hot 63.3 percent –from behind the arc during the winning streak. He is averaging 18.5 points during the run to raise his season mark to 10.5.

He had 19 points and a career-high 14 assists in an 86-71 home win over Minnesota on Jan. 10. Making the contest even sweeter for the point guard is he didn’t commit a single turnover in 36 minutes of action.

Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery was highly impressed with the performance.

“He’s incredibly confident. He plays the game with a keen understanding of what’s necessary,” McCaffery said. “He plays the game with a swag that you need. He’s always been a great shooter. I think what makes him special is that he’s always been consistent that way.”

Bohannon needs eight assists to move past Andre Woolridge (575 from 1994-97) into second place in school history.

But it is his shooting prowess that usually stands out. He made seven 3-pointers and scored 24 points against North Carolina earlier this season, but that performance was surrounded by a series of duds.

Poor showings against top-ranked Gonzaga (two points, 1 of 8 shooting), and rival Iowa State (three points, 1 of 7 shooting) prompted the most criticism. But the player who endured two hip surgeries in 2019 — one on each hip — to ensure he could continue his playing career said after the Minnesota game that he just shrugs off the chatter.

“Even when I got to Iowa, there was so many people doubting me. ‘There’s no reason why he should be on the court,'” Bohannon said, mimicking his critics. “It’s been an uphill battle ever since from my mindset, just because every time I step on the floor I want to continue to prove myself. And maybe I got away from that a little bit earlier this season, just trying to get my feet back under me.”

Bohannon’s hot stretch began with a 24-point effort as host Iowa downed then-No. 19 Northwestern 87-72 on Dec. 29. He made 6 of 9 from 3-point range.

Star big man Luka Garza scored 18 points in that game — just one of two times he has failed to reach 20 this season. The National Player of the Year favorite is averaging 27.6 points and 8.6 rebounds.

Northwestern’s Pete Nance scored a career-best 21 in that matchup.

The loss to Iowa was the start of a four-game slide — all against ranked teams — for the Wildcats (6-5, 3-4). The margin of defeat has been 17.3 points with the closest being Wednesday’s 81-71 road loss against Ohio State.

However, Northwestern coach Chris Collins insists there is no reason for panic.

“We’ve all said you’re gonna be judged by what you do over the full 20 (games),” Collins said after the loss to the Buckeyes. “You might win four in a row, you might lose three or four in a row. You have to hang in there.”

Chase Audige scored a career-best 25 points versus Ohio State while Miller Kopp contributed 16 points and a career-best nine rebounds. The Wildcats turned the ball over a season-low four times.

Kopp leads Northwestern with a 14.0 scoring average, while Audige chips in 12.9.

The Wildcats have had troubles with the Hawkeyes in recent campaigns. The loss earlier this season was their fifth straight and 12th in the past 15 meetings with Iowa.

–Field Level Media

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