With senior guard Robert Johnson closing in on his final game as a Hoosier, he saved one of best games for last.
Going on the road with a two-game winning streak, IU arrived at Iowa with one of the best defenses in the Big Ten. Instead of playing a low-scoring battle against the Hawkeyes, the Hoosiers found themselves in a shoot-out and Johnson became IU’s best weapon.
Johnson nailed nine 3-pointers, tying a program record, helping IU escape Iowa with an 84-82 victory.
However, it wasn’t Johnson who made the game winning shot for the Hoosiers. With the game tied at 82 with just over one minute left, sophomore guard Devonte Green found senior forward Freddie McSwain on a beautiful pass for a layup with 49 seconds left.
After that layup, Iowa would miss a shot, but Johnson would miss the first free throw of a one-and-one, giving the Hawkeyes a chance to tie or win the game.
On the ensuing possession, Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook missed shots, before IU’s junior forward Juwan Morgan snagged a rebound as the finals seconds ticked off the clock.
IU’s defense, which had emerged as its most reliable unit, largely struggled to contain Iowa on Saturday. The Hawkeyes opened the game making their first ten shots from the field. Just under seven minutes into the game, Iowa led by 13 points.
Iowa shot 70 percent in the first half, averaging more than 1.2 points per possession, with Cook scoring 15 points in the half. Yet, Johnson and Green’s three-point shooting kept the Hoosiers in the game. The two combined for 22 points and shot six of nine from three. Even though Iowa blitzed IU in the first half, the Hawkeyes only went into halftime with a narrow 3-point lead.
After trailing by three at halftime, IU came out in the second half on fire. To open the second period, IU went on a 30-14 run and the Hoosiers raced out to a 13-point lead. Iowa would answer back with a run of its own to slash IU’s lead.
Two Bohannon threes would get the Hawkeyes into the game and Iowa would get back within three with just over seven minutes left in the game. Late in the game, IU nursed its small lead until Cook nailed two free throws to tie the game at 82 with just under two minutes to play.
McSwain’s layup would be the only other point scored in the game.
With Johnson’s offense carrying the Hoosiers, IU shot 58 percent from three, significantly above its season average. For one game, its shooting carried IU to a victory. The win clinched the fact IU would finish at or above .500 in conference play.
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