Well that was the coolest thing to happen for Iowa basketball in Bloomington since this:
At the 7:52 mark in the second half, it felt like Iowa had lost this game. The Hawks were down 58-48, Melsahn Basabe had just turned over an inbounds pass to give Indiana an easy lay-up, and the crowd was still buzzing from an amazing Will Sheehey dunk a few minutes earlier. I was all set to write the following epitaph for the game: "Road victories are hard to come by in the Big Ten: you have to do everything perfect, and, as well as the Hawks played tonight, they did not play perfectly, and lost a winnable game." Eight minutes later Iowa was celebrating an improbable 64-63 victory, the crowd was stunned, and Tom Crean looked like he was ready to vomit with rage. What happened?
The Iowa comeback:
- Basabe makes layup, 58-50;
- Eric May steals the ball, passes ahead to Bryce Cartwright, who makes a layup and is fouled, 58-52;
- Cartwright misses the free throw, but Basabe muscles his way to an offensive rebound and is fouled; he makes two free throws, 58-54;
- Basabe steals the ball, passes ahead to May for a fast-break layup, 58-56;
- Indiana, in full panic mode, calls time out at 6:19;
- Iowa plays hounding defense and forces a desperation heave at the buzzer (I thought it was a shot clock violation, but the play by play has it as a missed shot). Basabe scores off a nice Cartwright feed on the ensuing possession, 58-58;
- Jordan Hulls makes a jumper, 60-58;
- Jarryd Cole saves a possession with an offensive rebound, Basabe gets fouled on the ensuing possession and makes both free throws, 60-60;
- Victor Oladipo makes a layup for Indiana, 62-60 (3:39 left);
- Bryce Cartwright pulls a sweet baseline crossover and nails a step-back jumper, 62-62;
- Oladipo is fouled and makes one of two free throws, 63-62 (1:42 left);
- Cartwright drives in and makes a tough floater, 63-64 (1:29 left);
- Verdell Jones III misses a jumpshot and Matt Gatens grabs the rebound (1 minute left);
- Gatens misses a three-pointer from the wing (29 seconds left);
- Indiana takes time off the clock, then begins to run a play, but they run it so aimlessly that Crean nearly has an apoplectic fit and calls timeout with 6 seconds left;
- Jones misses a jumper, Oladipo grab the board and has a good look at the follow, but somehow misses, and time runs out.
- Indiana was playing without Christian Watford and Maurice Creek, this was Verdell Jones' second game back after an injury and he looked off (he shot 1-9), so at times the Hoosiers were really struggling to find points. Hulls was their offense for most of the game;
- It happened before the comeback, so I didn't go into it, but early in the second half Cartwright served up two perfect long alley-oop lobs to May, who slammed them home quite expertly;
- Devyn Marble made a couple of critical plays after Sheehey's dunk to keep the game from turning into a blowout: first he made a jumper, then he drew a foul. After one of those plays, the color commentator for ESPN2, Stephen Bardo, made the following observation: "am I wrong, or did I just see some DNA come out of Devyn Marble there?" Well, you had a better view of the action, Stephen, but, ewww... (he was talking about Devyn playing like his dad, I hope and pray);
- Gatens was very, very quiet this game. Part of it was that he attracted a lot of attention and Indiana was guarding him very physically, but some of it was he was just deferring other people. I used Cartwright and Basabe in the graph because today felt like a very "we are the future" kind of game for those two. They took control and imposed their will on the game;
- Poor Crean. He really looks ill. At one point late in the game he was even turning to the crowd and imploring them to make some noise, which struck me as an odd break in focus (and decorum -- do coaches do that usually?).
- Speaking of Crean, after a lot of thought I think I've figured out who he looks like:
- One sour note down the stretch came with two minutes left. The game was tied, Iowa had the ball, and we were coming out of a timeout, but Fran called some weird play that required Jarryd Cole to make a tough entry pass to Gatens on the block. It was a tough pass, Gatens wasn't really open, and Cole probably should have just passed it back out to Cartwright, but why was Cole suddenly our playmaker there?