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Iowa History Daily: February 24 - John Johnson Scores Big

Iowa History Daily: On February 24, 1970, John Johnson set the Iowa Hawkeye men’s basketball single-game record with 49 in a 116-97 win over Northwestern. Part of a 14-0 Big Ten Championship season, Johnson racked up 31.8 points per game in conference during the 1969-1970 season.

A prep standout from Messmer High School in Milwaukee, Johnson first played college ball at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming. The 6’7” forward arrived at Iowa for the 1968-69 season and almost immediately broke the school scoring record with a 46 point performance against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After an up-and-down first season, Johnson proved ready to lead Ralph Miller’s ‘six pack’ to success during his senior year. 

Over the course of the Hawkeye’s unparalleled and undefeated Big 10 run in 1969-1970, Johnson racked up big point totals including more than 30 on nine separate occasions. The record-setting night against Northwestern saw the Wildcats attempt a box-and-one defensive strategy, and Johnson hit 30 or 33 field-goals to break his own single-game points record with 49.

The seventh pick of the 1970 NBA draft, Johnson went onto a productive professional career. The first Cleveland Cavalier to ever make an NBA All-Star Game, Johnson also shined in stints with the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Seattle SuperSonics. A 1979 NBA Champion, Johnson’s legacy still stands as one of the greatest in Hawkeye history. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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