Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman
It took time to figure everything out, but No. 10 Iowa finally found what Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State could not: a recipe to defeat No. 19 Northwestern in conference play. All the Hawkeyes needed to do was unleash upon the Wildcats a familiar foe: Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon.
“He’s done that for what, 10 years?” coach Chris Collins said after Bohannon dropped three or more 3-pointers against NU for the third time in his four-year career. “It feels like I’ve coached against him for a hundred years. He’s a terrific player and obviously a big key to what they’re doing.”
Bohannon keyed a balanced offensive attack for the Hawkeyes, and Iowa (8-2) shrugged off a big day from junior forward Pete Nance to hand NU (6-2) an 87-72 loss — its first in the conference this season.
Nance put up 21 points on the evening, including the Cats’ first eight, and hit three three-pointers in a game for the first time since NU’s finale against Minnesota last season.
He added a block and a steal on defense, but his contributions were overshadowed by a moment midway through the second half, when the Cats trailed the Hawkeyes 65-60. Nance appeared to run down and block a layup attempt by Iowa forward Keegan Murray, but he was whistled for a technical foul.
Bohannon then sank both of the ensuing free throws and began the Hawkeyes’ 22-12 closing run, during which the redshirt senior made three of his six 3-pointers. His explosive outing, along with a 19-point night from Iowa guard CJ Fredrick, obscured NU’s deft defensive handling of forward Luka Garza, who was held to his second-lowest point total of the season.
“(Garza) affects your defensive game plan greatly because he’s unstoppable in one-on-one situations,” Collins said. “You not only have to account for his low post touches, but he shoots the ball so well… he requires a lot of attention or else he’s gonna make you pay.”
Redshirt sophomore center Ryan Young, tasked with containing Garza at both ends of the floor for much of his 14 minutes, scored 10 points, shooting 4-for-5 from the field. Redshirt sophomore guard Chase Audige added 14 points and four 3s before fouling out, while sophomore guard Boo Buie produced just two points coming off his go-ahead shot in the Cats’ win over the Buckeyes.
The loss to the Hawkeyes concluded a 10-day stretch in which NU played four games, including two road games and three games against ranked opponents. Collins, while disappointed in the ending, expressed a positive view of his team’s progress over the holiday schedule.
“If you would’ve told me (we would be 3-1) before we came into this little gauntlet over 10 days, I would’ve been very happy,” he said. “Iowa’s a good team, they beat us, and we’ll learn from it.”
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