IOWA CITY, Ia. – The gold jersey was draped over the first chair on the Iowa bench. Jersey No. 40, with the name “STREET” on the back, in black letters.
“I looked over at it a couple of times,” Iowa’s Aaron White said. “Pretty cool.”
Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the car accident that took the life of Chris Street in the prime of his college career. And the Hawkeyes, dressed in gold uniforms, responded with a 70-66 victory over Wisconsin before an emotionally charged sellout crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Street’s No. 40 is retired, but it was in the hearts and minds of most of the 15,400 fans in attendance.
“There was an energy level in the building that I’ve never seen before,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, who presented the game ball to the Street family after his team improved to 2-3 in the Big Ten and 13-5 overall. “I’ve been to a lot of buildings in my playing and coaching career. There’s been nothing like that. There’s no doubt in my mind that was the difference.”
It’s only fitting that White, whose style of play on the court reminds many of Street, led the Hawkeyes with 17 points. White also had a team-high seven rebounds.
“They all gave it a great effort,” Mike Street, Chris’ dad, said afterwards.
Street’s mom, Patty, had a smile stuck on her face. “What an awesome win,” she said.
consin entered the game as the Big Ten’s lone unbeaten team. The Badgers are 4-1 in the league and 13-5 overall after a third straight loss to Iowa.
“Oh, rub it in,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said when asked about no more undefeated conference teams. “Hang on to your hat. It’s going to be that kind of a year.”
The Badgers came into Carver-Hawkeye on a seven-game winning streak. They beat No. 12 Illinois and won at No. 2 Indiana in their last two games. Asked if he thought his team wasn’t ready to play Saturday, Ryan took exception.
“There’s good teams in the Big Ten, and we just played one of them,” Ryan said.
Wisconsin struggled out of the gate, shooting just 23.1 percent from the floor in the first half on 6-of-26 shooting. Iowa’s defense had something to do with that.
“I would have liked to have played similar defense in the second half,” McCaffery said. “I thought in stretches, we did.”
But Wisconsin was different team offensively in the second, shooting 59.4 percent from the floor including seven 3-pointers in 12 tries. And the Badgers took this game to the wire because of it.
Iowa took a 16-6 lead at the 12:16 mark for the first half, swelled it to 30-10 and maintained a double-figure advantage until 4:08 remained in the game, when Jared Berggren scored on a reverse to make it 57-49.
Wisconsin got as close as three points, 66-63, on George Marshall’s 3-pointer with :22.5 left. The redshirt freshman scored all 20 of his points in the second half.
But Devyn Marble, who added 13 points despite struggling with turf toe and a sprained left ankle, made two free throws at the :20.9 mark. White, who made 13 of 15 free throws on the night, made the last two with 6.5 seconds left, and the celebration was in full swing.
After letting resume-building wins against Indiana and Michigan State get away in its previous two home games, the Hawkeyes got a win they desperately needed. And White had a night he won’t soon forget, thanks to the presence of No. 40.
“The whole night, celebrating his life, remembering what a great person and player he was,” White said. “Great crowd, great night. And we were able to cap it off with a win.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball