Hawks move over break-even mark in Big Ten
By JASON BRUMMOND
IOWA CITY — Even with Peter Jok back in the lineup, Iowa stuck to the balanced scoring attack it was forced to fall back on without the Big Ten’s top scorer.
It’s working for Fran McCaffery’s young team.
Jordan Bohannon scored 15 points, Tyler Cook added 13 and the Hawkeyes held on for an 81-70 win over Nebraska on Sunday for their third straight victory.
Brady Ellingson scored 11 points off the bench and hit a late 3-pointer to help Iowa (14-10, 6-5 Big Ten) avenge a double-overtime loss at Nebraska last month. Bohannon and Ellingson combined for seven 3-pointers, while the Cornhuskers made only 3 of 19 3s.
“It’s all about ball movement and screening and recognition and how to get the ball to those guys,” McCaffery said. “Just be locked in to, ‘OK, who is hot? Who are our shooters?’. That’s an unselfish group.”
Jack McVeigh scored 16 points to lead Nebraska (10-13, 4-7), which outrebounded the Hawkeyes but let the game slip away late. Tai Webster had 14 points, six rebounds and six assists. The senior became the 28th player in Nebraska history to reach the 1,000-point mark.
The Cornhuskers cut Iowa’s lead to 67-64 on Evan Taylor’s 3-point play with four minutes left. But the Hawkeyes answered with a quick 9-2 run — capped off by an Ellingson 3-pointer with 1:23 left that put the game away.
“They finished us off,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said.
Jok scored 12 points in his return to the lineup after missing Iowa’s last two games with back issues. Jok played 30 minutes and shot 2 of 7 from the field, but had five rebounds and five assists.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers’ 3-0 start in Big Ten play feels like forever ago. Nebraska has lost seven of its last eight games since then — almost all of them tight contests. Eight of the team’s 11 conference games have been decided by eight points or less.
Iowa: The young Hawkeyes have shown resiliency and balance during their three-game winning streak. Crisp, smart passing is a big reason why. The Hawkeyes have eight games this season with at least 20 assists — three of them in this current streak.
Bohannon hit four 3-pointers and has a freshman school-record 54 on the season. Entering Sunday, Bohannon and UCLA standout Lonzo Ball were the only two freshmen nationally with at least 50 3-pointers and 100 assists.
Glynn Watson, who had a career-high 34 points against Iowa on Jan. 5, didn’t start because of a nagging groin injury. Watson was held to 3 points on 0 of 4 shooting in only 18 minutes.
Referee Tom Eades suffered an undisclosed injury with 12 minutes left in the second half and did not return. The rest of the game was officiated by two referees.
HE SAID IT
“Without question, it’s the most important thing that happened this weekend,” McCaffery said about the University of Iowa Dance Marathon event that raised $2.5 million to help youth cancer patients and their families.
McCaffery’s son, Patrick, had a malignant tumor removed from his thyroid in 2014. Fran McCaffery is actively involved in Coaches vs. Cancer program.
Nebraska: Things don’t get any easier for the Cornhuskers when 10th-ranked and Big Ten-leading Wisconsin visits Lincoln on Thursday.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes try to keep their winning streak going at Minnesota on Wednesday in the only time the rivals play each other this season.