Iowa men climb to .500 in Big Ten with 110-87 rout at Maryland
Jordan Bohannon makes school-record 10 3-pointers in lopsided road win
By Pat Harty
This was impressive, and much needed.
Never mind that Maryland is far from being a typical Maryland team, and that it’s defense performed woefully, especially on the perimeter.
To win on the road in the Big Ten takes both mental and physical toughness and solid execution, and the Iowa men’s basketball team showed all of that in Thursday’s 110-87 victory at Maryland.
Of, course, it also helps to make 19 3-point baskets as Iowa did in Thursday’s beatdown.
Sixth-year senior guard Jordan Bohannon continued to torch the nets at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland in stunning fashion, making a school-record 10 3-point baskets.
Sophomore forward Keegan Murray was brilliant like almost always, scoring 30 points.
And Maryland just didn’t have an answer on either end of the court.
Iowa, which assisted on 22 of its 39 baskets, climbed to .500 in the Big Ten at 6-6 and improved to 15-7 overall with a home game against last-place Nebraska up next on Sunday.
The 110 points is the third most ever scored against Maryland.
This was pretty much a mismatch from start to finish, and it shows what this Iowa team is capable of doing on offense with the 3-point shot leading the way.
Bohannon made six of his school-record 10 3-point baskets in the first half, which ended with Iowa leading 57-41 at the break.
Iowa pretty much had its way on offense throughout the game as Maryland struggled to find shooters, and struggled to stop the ball in transition.
Bohannon has struggled for much of this season, even as a 3-point shooter.
But as the Big Ten’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals, and with all the big shots that Bohannon has made as a Hawkeye, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery has kept him in the starting lineup, and Thursday’s game showed why.
Bohannon’s ability to get hot from 3-point range separates him from most players.
His presence helps with floor spacing because even when his shots aren’t falling, which has been for much of this season, defenses still have to respect him and account for him on the perimeter.
Bohannon, who is the son of former Iowa quarterback Gordy Bohannon, said on the Learfield post-game radio show that his father helped him work through his slump. Bohannon had only scored in double figures once in the previous five games.
“I’ve always felt like I was a really great shooter and I’ve put up so many shots in my entire life, and my dad helped me out a couple times this week just to get my rhythm back and to what made me a real great shooter, and my teammates did a great job of finding me,” Bohannon said.
With the offense sputtering, Fran McCaffery recently moved Bohannon back to point guard after Bohannon had started the first 21 games at shooting guard alongside point guard Joe Toussaint.
The position switch was made in hopes that it would provide a spark for Bohannon and it seems to have worked, although, Bohannon made some of his 3-pointers against Maryland while playing with either Joe Toussaint or Ahron Ulis at point guard.
Iowa is a different team when Bohannon makes 3-pointers.
The fact that Maryland allowed over 100 points, and that Maryland repeatedly left Bohannon wide open on the perimeter, says a lot about Maryland’s defense.
This was a Big Ten road game that Iowa had to win, and it did.
Maryland, under interim head coach Danny Manning, is vulnerable right now, and Bohannon and his cohorts capitalized on that with Fran McCaffery back on the bench.
McCaffery missed this past Sunday’s victory over Minnesota at Carver-Hawkeye Arena due to Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
His son, fifth-year senior guard Connor McCaffery, also returned after having missed the Minnesota game with an arm injury.
Iowa lost most of its best 3-pointers from last season with the departures of Joe Wieskamp, C.J. Fredrick and Luka Garza, and the lack of 3-point shooting proficiency has been an ongoing problem this season.
Now the question is whether Thursday’s 3-point barrage was an isolated incident, or a sign of things to come.
Bohannon is likely to find space harder to come by in the wake of Thursday’s 3-point extravaganza, but defenses also have to account for Keegan Murray.
As great as Bohannon was in Thursday’s game, Maryland’s defense also left much to be desired.
Iowa has to build on this drubbing with a very winnable game against Nebraska up next.