After-thoughts from Iowa’s 77-70 victory over Northwestern:
--While it was great that the Hawkeyes played fairly well and ended their six-game losing streak, you kind of wonder what this game might have been like had Northwestern been at full strength. One of the Wildcats’ top players, Vic Law, sat out the game with a toe injury and their senior floor general, Bryant McIntosh, took the rest of the night off after committing three turnovers in the first seven minutes. He’s been nursing a shoulder injury and basically was playing with one arm, according to head coach Chris Collins. Gavin Skelly started and played eight minutes but also did not play in the second half. The Wildcats basically had six healthy scholarship players.
--Jordan Bohannon got on his best roll of the season in the first half, throwing in six 3-point field goals in a span of eight minutes. Three of those 3s were in transition, four of them came at least five feet behind the 3-point line and the last one was about a 28-footer to give the Hawkeyes a 43-21 lead. He now has 88 3s in 31 games, just one less than he had in 34 games last season.
--Bohannon made a tremendous gesture by missing a free throw on purpose after he had tied Chris Street’s school record of 34 consecutive free throws. He did it to avoid erasing the revered Street from the record books. Had he done when the Hawkeyes led by 22, it would have been wonderful. But he did it after Northwestern had chopped the margin to eight points with 2 minutes, 15 seconds remaining. Chances are, Chris Street himself would have preferred to see him go ahead and make the shots to make sure the Hawkeyes won the game. Had they ended up losing after Bohannon missed, the reaction of Iowa fans would have been much different.
--Tyler Cook, who is really developing as a passer and playmaker, reached a career high with six assists and Bohannon achieved a season-high in 3-pointers (7) and equaled a career high in rebounds (6). Ironically, with all those statistical goodies, the Hawkeyes won for the first time this season without scoring 80 points.
--Fran McCaffery gave Dom Uhl only the ninth start of his career on Senior Night and he didn’t yank him right out of the game after two or three minutes, as so often happens in those situations. Uhl was on the court for the first 6 minutes, 15 seconds and he came back to play a few more minutes later on, finishing with two rebounds and two blocked shots.
--Despite the victory, 3-point defense continues to be a major issue for the Hawkeyes. Northwestern was missing two of its three best perimeter players and still made 13 of 25 shots from behind the arc. Scottie Lindsey became the fourth player to make nine 3s in a game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the second player in eight days to do it. Robert Johnson of Indiana did it last week, tying the record set by Rod Parker of Chicago State in 1990 and Iowa’s Chris Kingsbury in 1994.
--Iowa actually may have gotten a tougher draw in the Big Ten tournament by winning than it would have by losing. It now must play an Illinois team that is playing very well and which specializes in forcing turnovers. It’s not a good matchup for the Hawkeyes. Had they lost, they would play Minnesota, which lost by 14 in Iowa City a month ago and was lucky to hold on to beat the Hawkeyes in Minneapolis last week. That win is the only one by the Golden Gophers in their last 11 games.