All Hail Jordan Bohannon, Sharpshooter King of The Big Ten-ACC Challenge

By RossWB on November 30, 2021 at 1:00 pm
© Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

There have been a few constants for Iowa basketball over the last few seasons: high-powered offenses that score a lot of points and often play at warp speed tempos, inconsistent defenses prone to getting torched for extended periods, timeouts called a few minutes too late to slow down an opponent. Add one more item to that list: Jordan Bohannon going absolutely supernova in the annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge games. 

Bohannon has been a consistent bucket-getter in these games for his entire career, as these stats can attest: 

18 ppg, 5.3 made three-pointers per game, and been a flamethrower-hot 45% from beyond the arc. Bohannon has played a key role in every Challenge game Iowa has played during his career and there's no question that his high-powered shooting performances have been a critical part in Iowa's current four-game winning streak in the Challenge. 

Let's go back through all six (!) of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge games that Bohannon has taken part in for Iowa. 

2016: Notre Dame (L, 92-78) | 23 points, 7/18 FG (7/15 3FG), 7 assists, 2 rebounds

This game was Bohannon's coming out party at Iowa during his freshman season. There were question marks about Bohannon when he arrived at Iowa; his brothers had had very solid college careers, but Jordan was slightly smaller than them and had been a less-heralded recruit. He had had a quiet start at Iowa as well, never scoring more than six points in his first six games of the season. 

That all changed at Notre Dame. Bohannon was one of the only bright spots in a forgettable 14-point defeat; he absolutely erupted from long range and provided Iowa fans with a first glimpse of what he could do as a sharpshooter. He took an eye-watering 15 three-point attempts... but he also made seven of them. When you're hitting like that, keep shooting. Bohannon also had seven assists in the game and showed that, yes, he could be a big-time contributor against big-time competition. This game also showed the limitations of Bohannon-as-a-star-player, particularly on the defensive end, which Iowa fans would become more familiar with over the next few seasons. Over the years, Iowa has done a better job of making use of the best parts of Bohannon's game while reducing the negative impact of his weaker attributes. 

2017: vs Virginia Tech (L, 79-55) | 12 points (4/12 FG, 4/8 3FG), 3 assists, 2 rebounds 

A decent performance in what ended up a forgettable, lopsided loss for Iowa. Bohannon was one of two Iowa players to finish in double figures in scoring (alongside Tyler Cook, who had 16 points). This game was actually close for a half (tied 38-38 at the break), but Iowa got run out of the gym to start the second half and never got back into it. Bohannon had some clear struggles in this game (see: four missed two-point attempts), but his four made threes provided some semblance of a lifeline for Iowa in the game for a while. 

2018: vs Pittsburgh (W, 69-68) | 12 points (4/12 FG, 3/9 3FG), 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 6 (!) steals

The first of Iowa's four straight wins in the Challenge was a nailbiter and a game that featured significant contributions from JBo. Bohannon was Iowa's third-leading scorer in the game (behind Joe Wieskamp with 18 points and Nicholas Baer (!) with 16 points, but he contributed to Iowa's 39% effort from behind the arc in the game. Threes were a critical factor for Iowa in the game; they made 12 long-range efforts, but converted just 7/21 two-point tries. Bohannon wasn't lights out from deep (just 33%), but all of his makes were crucial in what wound up being a one-point win. From a Bohannon perspective, this game is most notable not from a shooting perspective, but from a defensive perspective -- Bohannon had a career-best six steals (!) in this game. That's a lot of swipin'. 

2019: vs Syracuse (W, 68-54) | 17 points (6/15 FG, 5/14 3FG), 1 assist, 1 rebound

Bohannon led Iowa into the Carrier Dome a year later and helped lead Iowa to another win over an ACC squad. He was again one of three double-digit scorers, along Luka Garza's 23 points and Joe Weiskamp's 13 points, again providing a barrage from deep to complement Garza's low post assault. This was not one of Bohannon's more efficient efforts from deep -- 5/14 speaks for itself -- but he made some very key threes for Iowa to help them keep 'Cuse at arm's length and ultimately record a big victory in one of college basketball's most notable venues. 

2020: vs North Carolina (W, 93-80) | 24 points (8/17 FG, 7/16 3FG), 6 assists

Last year Bohannon helped lead the charge for an Iowa offense that absolutely torched the nets at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and shredded North Carolina's defense. He scored a game-high 24 points, and was one of four Iowa starters in double figures in scoring (CJ Fredrick had 21, Wieskamp had 19, and Garza had 16) as Iowa ran wild against the Tar Heels. Three-point shooting was the story of the game for Iowa here -- they shot 43% from behind the arc and made a staggering 17 threes in dropping North Carolina. Fredrick and Wieskamp were the most efficient long-range gunners for Iowa -- they each went 5/7 from range -- but Bohannon was the most prolific, bombing away for seven made threes (on, uh, 16 tries). Bohannon can definitely be a volume shooter at times, which can have its drawbacks, but when the threes start falling, Iowa's offense can look unstoppable, as it did here. 

2021: vs Virginia (W, 75-74) | 18 points (20 points (7/12 FG, 6/9 3FG), 2 assists, 1 rebound

And, finally, last night Bohannon wrapped up his Big Ten-ACC Challenge career with another gem, roasting Virginia for 20 points on 7/12 shooting, including an actually efficient 6/9 effort from deep. His made threes early helped Iowa build a huge lead and get off to a fast start and his trey late in the game was a much-needed big shot when both teams were trading haymakers in the final moments. 

I'm not sure what's wilder -- that Bohannon has played in six Big Ten-ACC Challenge games or that he's attempted almost 12 threes a game in those half-dozen games -- but either way JBo has left an indelible mark on the Challenge, or at least in the Iowa corner of the Challenge. He's been an absolute monster in these games, year after year after year (after...) and a joy to watch. We'll miss you when the Big Ten-ACC Challenge rolls around next year, Jordan, but as you said in the past -- thanks for the memz. 

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