INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — They will play that game-winning shot in highlight reels, family rooms, and Carver-Hawkeye Arena introductions for a long time.
After rousing victories over Michigan and Illinois to effectively seal its NCAA Tournament selection, Indiana fell in its semifinal contest to Iowa, 80-77, thanks to a banked Jordan Bohannon heave from the logo. It wraps up IU’s regular season at 20-13.
Before the game, Jordan Geronimo (knee) warmed up, but showed a limp. He didn’t see any action during the game. He tweeted after the game he’ll be “100% ready to go” for next week.
Mike Woodson started the same five that he’s run with all season: Xavier Johnson, Parker Stewart, Miller Kopp, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis. Any thoughts of a Hoosier letdown were erased immediately. IU came out on fire.
After back-to-back 20+ point affairs, Jackson-Davis imposed himself from the tip. He stuffed Iowa superstar Keegan Murray in the first two minutes and scored a layup at the other end to get on the board.
All in all, Jackson-Davis had 10 points and two blocks in the first five minutes of the game, exhibiting his entire repertoire of skills on both ends of the court. After a Johnson layup, the Hoosiers led the Hawkeyes, 15-3. Fran McCaffery needed a timeout.
Iowa’s explosive offense brought them right back into the game, specifically through Murray and his identical twin, Kris. Keegan Murray, who scored just 12 points in the first matchup back in January, drained a triple to bring Iowa within nine, and after Kris made a three of his own, Keegan drained two more from downtown to make the score 17-15, Hoosiers.
The clear contrast in matchups became evident over the course of the first half. Iowa tried winning on pace and three-point shooting, while Indiana thrived on its suffocating defense and skillful post play.
It worked for both teams, thanks to the brilliance of Jackson-Davis and Keegan Murray. Iowa could not stop the preseason All-American, who either dunked the ball, laid it in, or distributed to a teammate for an open shot. “Buddy Ball”, a term Woodson coined for the on-court relationship between Jackson-Davis and Thompson, came to fruition in the first half.
They found each other for multiple baskets in the first half, and set up other good looks that led to misses or fouls.
Indiana’s perimeter threats missed a handful of open shots in the first half that could have created more separation from the Hawkeyes. Kopp missed two, with Stewart and Galloway failing to hit open shots from three-point land. Had those gone in, IU’s halftime lead would have been larger.
“We had a lot of good looks from the perimeter. We just didn’t knock them down,” Woodson said after the game. “That’s a part of basketball.”
Keegan Murray would ensure IU would pay the penalty for those misses. He quickly added to the nine points from his early three-point barrage. He grabbed four first-half rebounds and connected with Jordan Bohannon for a three to make the score 31-30, Hoosiers.
“He’s the real deal,” Woodson said of Murray after the game. “The NBA is going to love him.”
The Hoosiers found another gear going into the break. An 8-2 run was punctuated by a Tamar Bates three, and IU held a six-point lead at halftime, even with Johnson missing the last seven minutes with foul trouble.
The second half featured both teams relying on their strengths and their superstars. Jackson-Davis scored inside, then assisted to Thompson for a dunk. Murray responded with a three to bring Iowa within five. Jackson-Davis scored an “and-one” and made an additional basket to put IU up seven. He finished the game with a whopping 31 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks.
Murray said “not so fast,” hitting back-to-back triples. Iowa trailed by three with 12 minutes left. Murray ended up with a game-high 32 points on 8-10 shooting from three.
IU’s best stretch of the game came minutes later. As the defense held Iowa to a 2-of-11 stretch from the field, the Hoosiers clicked on offense. Trey Galloway whipped a pass to Kopp, who swished a three. On the ensuing possession, Johnson stole the ball from Tony Perkins (Lawrence North HS) and fed Jackson-Davis for a fastbreak dunk.
IU led by nine, and McCaffery needed another timeout. During the commercial break, one of those strange, Fran-type events took place.
IU assistant Yasir Rosemond, as well as the referees, de-escalated any conflict, and no discipline was issued. After the final media timeout, Bohannon took it on himself to not only bring Iowa back, but give them the victory.
He had made only two of his seven attempts until the closing stages, but he turned it on in crunch time. His first triple tied the game with 2:27 left, and after Keegan Murray gave Iowa the lead with a three, Bohannon nailed another to give Iowa a 77-73 advantage.
A quick-fire sequence by the Hoosiers tied the game in the final minute. Johnson drew a foul, made two free throws, and after Galloway stole the ball from Perkins, Johnson converted a layup to tie the game with 30 seconds left.
Both teams could have called timeout after the Johnson basket, but McCaffery chose to play out the ending. After the Hawkeyes ran 20+ seconds off the clock, Bohannon came flying off a curl to get the ball on the left wing. Galloway switched on to Bohannon, and contested the shot, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the ball from going through the basket.
Indiana awaits its NCAA Tournament seed and opponent during the Selection Sunday show on 6p ET on CBS. The Hoosiers’ big question: will they avoid having to play in Dayton as part of the First Four? Time will tell.
Featured Image: Darron Cummings / Associated Press