IOWA CITY — Never fails.
A team holds its Senior Day festivities to honor its departing seniors and some sophomore steals the show.
On Sunday, it was Jordan Bohannon’s turn.
The sophomore guard, coming off perhaps his worst game of the season, did just about anything he wanted to do in helping Iowa snap a six-game losing streak with a 77-70 victory over Northwestern in the final game of the regular season at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
He tossed in a season-high seven 3-point field goals, scored 25 points, matched a career high with six rebounds and with the game somewhat in hand in the final minutes, he made a symbolic gesture in tribute to a Hawkeye icon of the past.
Bohannon had tied the Iowa record for consecutive free throws made late in the first half, hitting his 33rd and 34th straight foul shots to match the 25-year-old record of the legendary Chris Street.
When he was fouled again with 2 minutes, 15 seconds remaining, he looked over at his family, pointed symbolically to the heavens, stepped up to the line and missed on purpose.
Bohannon, who had not missed in a game since Dec. 22, had mentioned possibly doing this to teammates and discussed the idea extensively with his brother, Zach.
“We kind of had the same agreement, that it wasn’t my record to have,’’ Bohannon said. “Obviously, I wanted to do it at a different time. It wasn’t the greatest time. I didn’t think coach would be too happy at the moment. But he knows that life is much more bigger than basketball …
“I know where the record deserves to stand,’’ he added, “and that’s in Chris’ name."
The Hawkeyes, after holding a big lead for most of the game, had only a 73-65 edge at the time.
But Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said he didn’t have a big problem with the intentional miss “because of whose record it was.
“I thought about discussing it with him but I left it up to him," McCaffery said. “That’s what he chose to do. I think it’s awesome.’’
Mike and Patty Street, Chris’ parents, didn’t know Bohannon had missed on purpose until they talked to him following the game. Some of his teammates weren’t even sure.
“That’s just the kind of guy he is, to show that kind of respect and make a move like that, especially in a game like this,’’ said freshman center Luka Garza, who added 18 points in the victory. “It was something I’m going to remember forever.’’
Earlier in the game, Bohannon didn’t miss much of anything as he shredded a shorthanded Northwestern team throughout the first half.
He made six 3-pointers in a span of less than eight minutes to give the Hawkeyes a 43-21 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the first half.
He had failed to score for the first time all season in a loss at Minnesota on Wednesday night and admitted to being very frustrated with himself in several recent games.
“I just told him ‘You have to get your swag back’ …’’ McCaffery said. “He needs to be aggressive like that for us to be the team that we can be.’’
Bohannon had it back Sunday. There was no hesitation any time he got an opening within 30 feet of the hoop.
“We didn’t even need to call a play for him because just as soon as he came across halfcourt, he was pulling it,’’ Garza said.
With Garza and Tyler Cook also playing well — he had 14 points, 11 rebounds and a career-best six assists — the Hawkeyes (13-18, 4-14 Big Ten) continued to hold a double-digit lead for most of the second half.
Northwestern, which had only six healthy scholarship players, still managed to make it interesting at the end, largely because of a record performance by Scottie Lindsey. The senior guard tied an arena record by making nine 3-point field goals (in 11 attempts) and scored 32 points.
It’s the second straight home game an opposing player has tied the mark. Indiana’s Rob Johnson had nine against the Hawkeyes a week ago.
The Wildcats (15-16, 6-12 Big Ten) made 13 3s in just 25 attempts, but still went down to their sixth straight defeat.
The victory puts the Hawkeyes in a three-way tie with Minnesota and Illinois for 11th place in the Big Ten and gives them the No. 12 seed in the Big Ten tournament, which gets under way Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York. They will play a 4:30 p.m. game against Illinois, which defeated Rutgers 75-62 on Sunday.
“It’s nice to have one of these games going into the Big Ten tournament,’’ Bohannon said. “We need a game like this to show what we’re capable of doing down there.’’
But he and his teammates admitted there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“We still made a lot of mistakes and let them back into the game,’’ Cook said. “We should have been building the lead. We still didn’t play the best basketball we can play. But I’m just happy we got the win.’’