DES MOINES, Iowa — Jordan Bohannon never got to play in the Iowa High School Boys’ State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.
His Linn-Mar teams never made it, including a crushing loss to Cedar Falls as a senior despite his 44-point effort. The Tigers’ star guard was a sophomore named A.J. Green.
So there was a little revenge on Bohannon’s mind heading into No. 22 Iowa’s game against Northern Iowa on Saturday in The Hy-Vee Classic at Wells Fargo Arena. Bohannon put the clamps on Green defensively in the Hawkeyes’ 77-54 victory.
“I think any time I go against A.J. Green there’s going to be a little bad blood,” Bohannon said after his team improved to 8-2. “He’s a good player. He’s going to be special in the coming years.”
Bohannon limited Green to just two points. He made just 1-of-8 shots. He had been averaging 15.8 points a game, and scored in double figures in seven of Northern Iowa’s first nine games.
“We did a really good job, right from the start,” said Bohannon, who made three 3-pointers of his own and played 23 minutes without a turnover. “I knew I wanted to pressure him and make it as tough on him as possible. I couldn’t have done it without the big guys helping out on ball screens.”
Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said that he could tell Bohannon was dialed in early in the game.
“You could see at the start, his energy level,” McCaffery said.
Bohannon’s teammates knew about his past history with Green. They knew he was motivated.
“We knew, for sure,” said center Luka Garza. “Jordan set the tone at the start of the game, picking him up and pressuring him.”
With defense as the ignition, Iowa took a 39-18 halftime lead. After Joe Wieskamp opened the second half with a 3-pointer, the Hawkeyes led by at least 20 points for all but one possession the remainder of the game. The Panthers shot just 21.4 percent from the floor in the first half and 36.4 percent for the game.
Iowa took advantage of its size advantage in the form of Garza and Tyler Cook. Both scored 17 points. Cook added 13 rebounds for his 12th career double-double.
It was also a milestone night for Cook, a junior forward. He became the 47th player in Iowa history to score at least 1,000 points. He now has 1,003.
“It’s cool, but the most important thing is we won the game,” said Cook. “I couldn’t get to this point without players like Jordan and the coaches for getting me in position to score the ball.”
QUOTING FRAN MCCAFFERY
“It (Cook reaching 1,000 career points) didn’t really mean anything to him. When you have a guy who is your best player, does he think that way? Is he a team guy? Does he put winning first? You look at his numbers. Five assists, 13 rebounds.”
Junior forward Cordell Pemsl, expected to miss the season and have surgery on his leg, was a surprise performer against Iowa State on Dec. 6. He finished with eight points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.
Pemsl didn’t play against Northern Iowa Saturday, and season-ending surgery is still a possibility.
“He just didn’t feel good,” McCaffery said. “It’s literally day-to-day with him. If he feels good, he can play, if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. I trust him to be able to make that decision and say, ‘Look, I can’t go.’ He knows if he’s going to be effective or not. He felt like he could be against Iowa State.”
- Jordan Bohannon became the seventh player in Iowa history to make at least 200 3-pointers. He made 3-of-5 attempts and now has 202 for his career. Jeff Horner (2003-06) leads that list with 262, followed by Matt Gatens (239), Chris Kingsbury (226), Peter Jok (216), Kent McCausland (214) and Adam Haluska (212).
- Iowa entered play Saturday leading the nation in free-throw makes per game (24.0) and attempts (31.3). The Hawkeyes made just nine of 14 free throws against the Panthers, both season lows.
- Tyler Cook recorded his third double-double in the last four games with his 17-point, 13-rebound effort.
- The Hawkeyes shot well from the floor for the second straight game against an in-state opponent. Iowa shot 53.7 percent against the Panthers Saturday, after a 57.4 percent outing against nine days ago.
ON THE HORIZON
Iowa returns to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday for a nonconference date with Western Carolina. Tip time is 8 p.m. (CT) and the game will be televised on BTN.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It takes two or three possessions for University of Iowa senior Megan Gustafson to figure out what defenses are trying to do to slow her down.
That’s where patience becomes a virtue for the 6-foot-3 All-American center.
Gustafson made her first basket nearly eight minutes into Sunday’s game against Northern Iowa, then exploded for her ninth double-double during the Hawkeyes’ 83-57 win in front of a season-high 6,860 on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Gustafson had 12 points and 10 rebounds at halftime and finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds.
“We try to figure out what they are trying to do against me, so it’s important for me to be patient and not force anything,” said Gustafson, who made 11 of 14 field goal attempts. “I was able to get open looks for my teammates (early) and that was able to open up things inside and I was able to go to work.”
No. 16 Iowa (8-2) won its fourth consecutive game; UNI is 5-4.
The Hawkeyes shot 53 percent from the field (32 of 60) with 44 paint points. They also took care of business from the perimeter, making 7 of 14 from 3-point range, the first time in a month that they have made 50 percent from distance.
“I like that we found our 3-point shooting,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “Life is a little easier when that happens.”
Four Hawkeyes made 3-point goals: senior Tania Davis (2 of 3), junior Kathleen Doyle (2 of 4), and sophomore Alexis Sevillian (2 of 2) made two apiece and junior Makenzie Meyer was 1 of 3. Iowa was 1 of 14 from beyond the arc against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on Dec. 8.
Iowa led, 25-24, after UNI’s Karli Rucker made a jump shot in the paint with 4:28 left in the second quarter. Not only did the Hawkeyes hold UNI scoreless the rest of the half, but they went on a 10-0 run to lead at the break, 35-24. Iowa opened the second half on an 8-2 run.
“We had good momentum going into halftime,” Bluder said. “I thought we had good clock management at the end of the quarters. The third quarter was both ends — defensively and offensively — we got it going and that was fun and put it out of reach.”
Three Hawkeyes joined Gustafson with double figures in points. Doyle scored 13 points with seven assists, Davis scored 10 points, and senior Hannah Stewart scored 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
Iowa committed a season-low eight turnovers.
Rucker led the Panthers in scoring with 16 points. She also handed our four assists.
QUOTING COACH BLUDER
“I want to start by thanking the crowd that came out today. This was a season-high (6,860) for us for attendance and we really appreciate everybody coming out to support us. These in-state games are important, they’re fun, and it was nice to get this second victory in this in-state rivalry season.”
The Hawkeyes defeated Iowa State, 73-70, on Dec. 5 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
NORTHERN IOWA COACH TANYA WARREN ON GUSTAFSON
“She is one of the best, she is an All-American. She is extremely efficient, she has great footwork, she is one of the best I have seen in my 24 years of coaching at this level. Iowa does a tremendous job in terms of developing their post players and (Gustafson) definitely is one of the best.”
Doyle made her first start of the season after starting 57 of 64 games as a freshman and sophomore. She missed Iowa’s first seven games with a broken hand.
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Iowa committed eight turnovers, its lowest total since having seven at Illinois on Jan. 7, 2018.
The Hawkeyes conclude their nonconference slate by taking on Drake (8-3) on Dec. 21 in the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa. For Iowa, it will be the third and final game against in-state opponents this season. The Bulldogs lost, 86-81, at Iowa State on Sunday.