Nicholas Baer launched a 3-pointer, hitting nothing but the bottom of the net, with 9:02 left in the first half. That shot cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 2 points.
Moments later, Baer was called for the foul, but Pittsburgh missed both free throws.
On the ensuing Iowa possession, Baer pulled up from 3-point range and canned another shot from deep, giving Iowa a 1-point lead and sparking the Hawkeyes midway through the second half.
Thanks to Baer’s scolding-hot hand from deep and his pair of clutch free throws with less than a minute to go, Iowa eeked out a 69-68 win in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday.
“He’s been playing that way all summer, all fall,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “We hadn’t really seen him shoot it like that yet. He’s played well, but he hasn’t shot it like that… it was great for him and great for us for him to take over.”
Baer finished with 16 points (14 of which came in the second half), but he wasn’t the only Hawkeye hitting shots from deep.
Freshman Joe Wieskamp finished with a team-high 18 points, including 4 3-pointers. He added 11 rebounds as well, marking his first collegiate double-double.
Defensively, Iowa couldn’t find any rhythm in the first half, giving up 46 points. But in the second half, the Hawkeyes came out with a renewed sense of coverage. In the first minute in half No. 2, Iowa forced 2 turnovers.
In the second half, Iowa allowed just 22 points – fewer points than Pittsburgh scored in the paint in the first half (the Panthers had 26 points in the paint heading into halftime).
Wieskamp blocked a pair of shots, but fellow guard Jordan Bohannon’s defense jumps off the stat sheet; a career-high 6 steals fueled the Hawkeye comeback effort.
“We knew there was going to be adversity at some point this season,” Bohannon said. “This is really the first time we kind of hit something. Going into halftime, it wasn’t fun. We knew we were going to get chewed out by coach – we deserved it. That really got to us.”
Cordell Pemsl injury update
Prior to Iowa’s win against Pittsburgh, the program announced that junior forward Cordell Pemsl would miss the rest of the 2018-19 season, because of a procedure to remove hardware from a previous surgery, one that he had in high school, according to a release.
McCaffery said after the game that Iowa would apply for a medical hardship.
Pemsl played in just one game this season. Appearing in the season-opening win over UMKC, Pemsl played 14 minutes, going scoreless. He grabbed 2 rebounds but finished with 2 turnovers and 2 personal fouls.
“After consulting with our training staff, it is determined that the best course of action is to correct the problem before returning to the court,” Pemsl said in a release. “Although I am disappointed that I will be unable to help the team on the court this season, I am confident in my teammates and will do everything I can to be a good teammate from the sidelines.”
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