Nineteen points, 14 assists against zero turnovers — all in almost 36 minutes on the court.
It was a Jordan Bohannon stat line that showed that the fifth-year senior guard is back to being his best.
Bohannon’s day in No. 5 Iowa’s 86-71 win over No. 16 Minnesota on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena was another edition in his comeback from surgeries on both hips, one in the months preceding last season and one in December that ended his 2019-20 season.
“I’ve been through hell for the last year and a half, two years,” Bohannon said. “It was a lot for me, mentally and physically. It took a lot of internal motivation for myself to get back to the player I know I can be.”
He’s back to that, a much better Bohannon than the one who struggled in early December. He had a stretch of five games in which he scored 27 points, but in the last four he’s scored 74.
Bohannon was the conductor for the Hawkeyes on Sunday, running an offense that hummed in a second-half surge.
Iowa led 39-37 at halftime, then went on a 22-6 run to start the second half. And after the Gophers got to within five late, the Hawkeyes closed the game with an 18-8 run.
Bohannon’s overall line that also included seven rebounds impressed Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. But the numbers just backed up what he saw on the court.
“He has always really been tremendous in our fast break and in our ability to push it,” McCaffery said. “From the opening tip today, he was pushing the ball and finding people. I thought his decisions — when to shoot, when to drive, when to move it, when to get it in the post — were tremendous. Practically perfect.
“Unbelievable job by him.”
Bohannon’s favorite number?
“You know me, it’s the zero turnovers,” he said, smiling. “That’s something I always pride myself in, to not turn the ball over. Be steady with the ball and find guys.”
Minnesota handed Iowa a 102-95 overtime loss on Christmas night, rallying from seven points down with 44 seconds left in the second half.
It was something the Hawkeyes hadn’t forgotten. Bohannon talked about a couple of Gophers “talking crap” as the teams were leaving the court that night, but didn’t go into specifics.
Forward Joe Wieskamp said this rematch was “kind of personal for us.”
“Our loss up there on Christmas night was in the back of our minds,” Wieskamp said. “They shot it well at their place, but they were getting open looks. So that was a key emphasis in this game, to get up in their space.”
Minnesota would make just 25-of-71 shots in this game, 10-of-34 in 3-pointers. Marcus Carr, who had 30 points in that first game, finished with 13. Brandon Johnson, who had 26 the first time, had just 12.
The memory for the Hawkeyes lingered when the Gophers made their second-half run. Which is why they closed with a flourish.
“We weren’t going to let it happen again,” said center Luka Garza. “We needed to get stops and get back to running, and we did that.”
Garza scored 33 points against the Gophers’ consistent double teams that weren’t quite as aggressive in the second half as the Hawkeyes started making outside shots. With Bohannon’s numbers, and Wieskamp’s 20 points, it was hard for Minnesota to pay so much attention to Garza.
He then feasted with passes that were perfect from Bohannon.
“If it wasn’t for Luka making his layups, I wouldn’t have 14 assists,” Bohannon said. “I think that more than 95 percent of my passes were assists to him.”
Iowa had 27 assists on 31 field goals.
“Our guards are really unselfish,” Garza said. “When we get out on transition, that’s when we’re at our best. J-Bo was finding me tonight.”
The Hawkeyes won their ninth consecutive home game over a ranked opponent, dating back to last season. It’s the longest such streak in program history during the Associated Press poll era that started in the 1948-49 season.
Iowa stayed within a half-game of Big Ten leader Michigan.
“We know if we can take care of business here throughout the season, we can be really special,” Bohannon said.
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