"No no no! The ball goes in the basket! IN THE BASKET!" - Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Death to the train-lovers.
Let's just break this game down by the numbers:
0: The points that Adam Woodbury had in 17 minutes of game action last night, on 0/3 shooting. It's Woody's second-straight 0-fer in the points column and a continuation of his struggles in that department: he hasn't scored in double figures since 10 against South Dakota on December 4. His high-water mark in B1G play was 8 points against Michigan, back on January 6. That's not to say that Woodbury's been a stiff -- he contributed a block and two steals in semi-limited minutes last night and his defensive presence alone has been valuable for Iowa this year -- but he certainly has a lot of development to do. In a game like this, it's hard not to compare him to the other 7-footer on the court, and A.J. Hammons had 12 points (on 5/7 shooting) and 9 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action (only one more minute than Woodbury played). Hopefully Woodbury can start producing games like that for Iowa next season.
1: The number of three-pointers made by Josh Oglesby last night (1/5). But it was a very timely make indeed: Oglesby drilled a 3 to boost Iowa's lead to 52-43 with 1:43 to go. That 3 ended a 10-2 Purdue run that had slashed Iowa's lead to was threatening to make this another close game coughed up by the Hawkeyes in the league. Oglesby was rewarded with a rare start thanks to Mike Gesell's untimely foot injury and while he didn't contribute much from a scoring perspective (5 points on 1/5 shooting), he added 4 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and some (somewhat) surprisingly effective defense in his 21 minutes of action. Oglesby has been a steady source of frustration for Iowa fans this year, but credit where it's due: he made some key plays for Iowa last night that led to the win. Now if he can just start hitting a few more shots...
5: Block advantage for Iowa (5-0). Iowa's been on the wrong end of this stat several times in league play, so it was nice to see them on the right side of this stat for once. Two blocks in particular stand out: Basabe's (or maybe Olaseni's?) athletic come-from-behind swat to deny a transition bucket for Purdue and Eric May's late- game "THAT'S LEVITATION, HOLMES" rejection, seen below. Get that shit outta here.
6: Turnover advantage for Iowa (15-9). Iowa's shooting last night was wretched (more on that below, so how did they pull out a 10-point win? Well, turnovers was one big reason: despite playing without their starting point guard (Gesell), Iowa turned the ball over only 9 times, while they were able to force Purdue into 15 turnovers. That helped, as did...
9: Foul advantage for Iowa (24-15). Purdue was whistled for a lot more fouls than Iowa (hooray, homecourt officiating?), which had two main benefits for Iowa: it kept some Purdue players in foul trouble and on the bench (like Hammons, who had great success against Iowa's interior defense when he was on the court) and it sent Iowa to the charity stripe a lot.
11: The difference between the free throws Iowa made (21) versus the number of free throws Purdue attempted (10). Iowa went 21/29 (72.4%) from the free throw line last night, while Purdue went just 7/10 (70%) from the line. Iowa could barely hit a damn thing from the field last night, but luckily they went to the free throw line three times as much as Purdue -- and converted them at a pretty healthy clip, too.
13:41: Amount of time Iowa went between field goals in this game. Gabe Olaseni scored a lay-up with 12:42 to go in the first half; Iowa didn't score another field goal until Roy Devyn Marble made a three-pointer with 19:01 to go in the second half. Amazingly, Iowa's was able to retain their lead during this horrendous drought. Iowa led 15-8 after that Olaseni lay-up and 25-18 before that RDM triple. (Yes, both teams combined to score twenty points in almost 14-minutes of gameplay. This was not a game for the faint of heart or the weak of constitution.)
18: points apiece scored by Aaron White and Marble last night. It was White's third-straight game with 15+ points and Marble's fifth-straight with 15+ points. Remember that stretch when Marble couldn't buy a bucket? Yeah, I'm glad that's over. He was 6/13 last night; in fact, he made more shots (6) than the rest of the Iowa starters combined made (5), despite also handling the point guard and primary ballhandler duties for much of the game.
36.3: Iowa's eFG% last night. Woof. Purdue actually shot slightly better (39.4% eFG), but Iowa's advantages in turnovers and free throws made the difference here. Iowa missed a little bit of everything last night, though: they were 5/13 from long range (although that's probably one of our better 3-point shooting displays this season, actually) and missed countless mid-range jumpers (that free throw-line jumper for Basabe was not falling last night) and innumerable gimmes at the rim.
58: Points scored by Iowa, which is not only the fewest points scored by Iowa in a Big Ten win this year (70 was the previous low mark), and not only the fewest points scored by Iowa in any win this year (63 was the previous low mark, against Western Kentucky), but the fewest points scored by Iowa in any game this year (59 was the previous low mark there, against Michigan State). And they won! So, um, yay? Look, playing games this ugly wasn't supposed to be the gameplan under McCaffery, but hey: shit happens. Sometimes you have to win ugly and Iowa, to their credit, was able to do just that here. Now let us never speak of this shooting performance again.
78.6: Free throw percentage (11/14) for Aaron White last night. Aaron White gets to the free throw line a lot. Like, a frankly stupid amount a lot. He's already attempted 204 free throws this year -- and Iowa still has, at minimum, four more games to play. He's currently averaging around 7 attempts a game; at that rate, he could wind up with at least 232 free throw attempts this year -- that's the most for any Iowa player since Reggie Evans hoisted 302 shots from the line in 2001-02. 232 free throw attempts would put White around the 8th-best single-season mark in terms of free throw attempts. Since the Evans days, only one Iowa player has cracked 200 free throw attempts in a season -- Greg Brunner in 2005-06 (203). White's also making all those free throws at a pretty healthy clip, 149/204 or 73%. Granted, several of those misses have come at very inopportune moments late in games and have been very costly for Iowa -- but we probably have a tendency to fixate on those a bit too much. White has still made a lot of free throws this season (it's a big part of his "garbageman" offensive game) and those makes have been responsible for Iowa even being in some of those games where his late misses contributed to Iowa losses.
P.S. No Fran-Graph for this game. Sorry, folks.
P.P.S. McCaffery hopes Gesell will be back for the Big Ten Tournament in two weeks.