Iowa senior guard Jordan Bohannon was 1-6 from 3-point range against Indiana men’s basketball entering the final three and a half minutes of their Big Ten Tournament semifinals matchup.
Besides sophomore forward Keegan Murray, Indiana kept Iowa’s dangerous offense in check for most of the game, but Murray’s 32-point effort kept Iowa within striking distance.
However, Iowa’s offense came alive in crunch time, scoring 15 points after senior guard Xavier Johnson gave Indiana a 71-65 lead with 3:27 left to play. Bohannon served as the heartbreaker, hitting three 3-pointers down the stretch, including the game-winning heave from near the half-court logo to end Indiana’s run.
Sophomore guard Trey Galloway jumped and got a hand in Bohannon’s face, but his effort wasn’t enough to keep him from banking in the game-winner. The Hoosiers packed for four days with aspirations to play in the tournament final, but Bohannon sent them home after just three.
“You dream about it as a little kid, throwing up shots in the backyard, throwing up shots at the local YMCA when you're a kid and hoping one day you get to this stage,” Bohannon said. “I was running in circles, I didn't know where to go because I was so excited.”
Bohannon finished with 12 points, behind Murray’s 32 and sophomore forward Patrick McCaffery who scored 16. Indiana’s big three finished with a similar effort as junior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 31 points, Johnson scored 20 and senior forward Race Thompson added 11.
Despite the loss, Jackson-Davis and Johnson rewrote Indiana’s Big Ten Tournament history books Saturday. Jackson-Davis scored 76 points across Indiana’s three-game run, more than any other player in program history, and he pulled down a program-record 25 rebounds in the tournament as well.
“It means a lot to me because I'm a Hoosier born and bred, and just coming back for my third year playing for (Woodson), it's been an honor and a blessing,” Jackson-Davis said. “This tournament has shown that we're still here and Indiana basketball is going to get back on top here soon.”
Johnson finished with more assists in the tournament than anyone in program history with 22, and wasn’t too far behind Jackson-Davis in points with 50 across three games. Despite struggling to take care of the ball earlier in the season, Johnson’s 160 assists this season put him at ninth most in Indiana history as well.
Head coach Mike Woodson said the team has benefited from Johnson’s improved play recently and said he’s a big reason the team is playing the kind of basketball Woodson envisioned it would this season.
“I think he's comfortable now, and maybe he wasn't too comfortable early on with me kind of in his ear a lot,” Woodson said. “I was just trying to get him to play the right way and he's done that here the last eight to 10 games. He's really played his butt off.”
While Jackson-Davis and Johnson finished with big performances again, a key component Indiana lacked Saturday was 3-point shooting. After an 8-15 effort in its first game of the tournament against Michigan, Indiana shot a combined 8-29 across its next two games, including a 5-19 effort against Iowa.
Indiana’s 3-point specialists, senior forward Miller Kopp and senior guard Parker Stewart, shot 2-7 and 0-2 from long range, respectively. In comparison, Murray and Bohannon finished 8-10 and 4-9, respectively, and that duo’s 3-pointers accounted for 36 of Iowa’s 80 points.
“(Murray) is the real deal,” Woodson said. “There's just nothing he can't do with the basketball in his hand. He's a pretty good defender and he rebounds the ball in terms of his height and length, so I mean, I think the sky's the limit for him.”
Despite the loss, Indiana more than likely played its way into the NCAA Tournament with wins over Michigan and Illinois earlier in the tournament. The team’s record stands at 20-13 following Saturday’s loss.
After the game sophomore forward Jordan Geronimo, who injured his knee Friday and missed Saturday’s game, tweeted he would be ready for Indiana’s tournament run should the team be selected.
The NCAA Tournament selection committee will announce which teams made the 68-team field at 6 p.m. Sunday on CBS. The committee’s decision will determine when, where and in what tournament Indiana will play next.
“This team hadn't been in postseason play for a very long time, so these guys are excited about that, and they should be,” Woodson said. “I'm excited for them because they worked their butts off this year to put themselves in this position. But again, until the committee says Indiana's going to the tournament, we're still sitting here waiting to hear those words.”