Bohannon is Not Your Average Freshman
This kid has proven over the course of the first 5 Big Ten games that he isn't going to be playing like a true freshman this season. This Purdue team was arguably the best team in the Big Ten and had just knocked off Wisconsin not too long ago and Bohannon was as calm as I've seen him this season against the pressure of their guards. He had 12 points, 9 assists, and just 1 turnover in Iowa's win. He's a shot maker and has shown that he is going to be able to distribute at a very high level. He is currently top five in the Big Ten in assists per game and that was before he had the nine tonight, which was a career high by the way. He was efficient from the field, he knocked down two massive free throws towards the end of the game to give the Hawkeyes a three point lead, and he's been the surprise of this freshman class for me. These four years with Jordan as the starting point guard are going to be fun for Iowa fans.
I'll admit, I had my doubts about how much he was going to give the Hawkeyes this season. I knew he'd give them plenty to offense, which he did tonight with the 29 points, but what I didn't see coming was the stat sheet stuffing. The rebounding and the sharing of the basketball have been the two most surprising things for me. He's turned himself into a complete player and was due after he struggled against Purdue, at Purdue. He's proving that he's going to be a first team all big ten selection and will be in the running for Big Ten Player of the Year. What puzzles me is he wasn't included in the midseason Wooden Watch list. Could it be because of his teams 11-7 record? Maybe. I don't really know, but what I do know is opposing coaches are going to be up late at night trying to figure out how to slow down Peter Jok.
The Hawkeyes didn't make a free throw in the first half, while the Boilermakers made 12 of the 13 they shot. That was really the difference in the game for a while. Until the end, that is. Purdue was 21-23 before Cline missed both of his late in the game. The Hawkeyes were 9-18 for the game, but four made buckets from the stripe at the end helped that number out immensely. Otherwise Iowa is staring at 5-14 from the line, which isn't going to cut it. I'm honestly surprised they won with how big of a discrepancy there was in the free throws, but they shot it well enough from the field in the second half and played good enough defense that it didn't matter. Moving forward, though, Iowa needs to start knocking them down when they get there. Cordell Pemsl was 0-3 at the line, while Tyler Cook was 2-5.
The Hawkeyes were getting torched from the field in the first half. Purdue shot 56% from the field and 58% from behind the arc on their way to 47 points. Something had to change. Iowa played man defense for I believe the entire first half, but at halftime Fran McCaffery threw Purdue for a loop. He threw several different zone's at the Purdue offense and they couldn't figure them out. They were pressing to go along with it as well. I saw a 3-2 zone defense, and 1-3-1, and a 2-3 from the Hawkeyes in the second half and the game plan was perfect from McCaffery and his staff. Couple that with the defensive intensity that they were playing with and Iowa held the Boilers to 32% from the field and 25% from three in the second half. My mind might need a bit of refreshing, but I don't know if I can remember a time when McCaffery made better adjustments during the halftime break. He did a heck of a job. He also drew up several plays out of timeouts that Iowa was able to get buckets on. Fran McCaffery earned his money Thursday night.
Total Team Effort
This is exactly what it was going to take to beat a really good Boilermaker team. They got the usual from Jok with the 29 points, but Tyler Cook put together a complete game with 16 points, and Jordan Bohannon chipped in 12 as well. After the top 3 is when it really gets good for Iowa. They had four different players get them 4 points. Ryan Kriener gave them 6, which was the surprise of the night. Dom Uhl and Isaiah Moss were able to chip in two of their own as well. Uhl had a big dunk off an alley-oop in the second half for Iowa and Kriener's 6 points in a minute and a half were a huge boost to an Iowa front line that had to battle Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas all night long. Ryan was 3-4 from the field with those 6 points and 2 rebounds in 8 minutes of action. 22 assists on 34 baskets is something I'll take every time out as well. It'll be interesting to see how McCaffery manages Kriener's minutes from here forward because he was huge when Cordell Pemsl and Nicholas Baer both picked up their third fouls.