On an emotional night in West Lafayette Indiana, the Purdue Boilermakers took down the #25 Iowa Hawkeyes 86-70 on the night honoring the late Tyler Trent. The Hawkeyes have now started 0-3 in the Big Ten and frankly, it’s not going to get easier from here.
Nick Baer started in place of Luka Garza, who missed his second consecutive start with an ankle sprain, which made this an even more difficult matchup before the ball even tipped. Tyler Cook was the leading scorer for the Hawkeyes, scoring 24 points and grabbing six rebounds. Isaiah Moss was the only other starter in double figures with 13, and Joe Wieskamp added 9, all from beyond the arc in the first half.
For Purdue, Carsen Edwards was the main focal point of the scoring, dropping 21 (which, at least, is under his average of 26, but maybe that’s because he sat a lot of the second half...), but Purdue got effective scoring up and down the roster. Every Boilermaker who touched the floor scored at least 3 points, and the other black and gold team notched 22 assisted baskets. It was an all around solid game for Purdue once the Hawkeyes stopped managing to keep up.
This was a poor showing from Iowa, particularly from the bench, for 30 of the 40 minutes on the clock. Yes, no Garza obviously made things bad from the get-go, but that just called for more contributions from the bench. Instead, Ryan Kriener was the only member of the bench to score any points with 10. It was also a no-show night from Jordan Bohannon, who scored 8 points on 2-5 shooting and 5 assists. In a game where Iowa needed its junior point guard to show up, we barely heard his name all night in what has been a forgettable season so far for the sharp-shooter.
Purdue opened up the scoring with a wide open corner 3 to open up an early 5-0 lead before freshman Joe Wieskamp responded with a corner 3 of his own. Wieskamp and Isaiah Moss kept the Hawkeyes in the game early, combining for all of Iowa’s first 13 points, and gave the Hawkeyes their first lead at 13-12 with just over 14 minutes remaining in the half.
The teams traded baskets from there, including a nasty Tyler Cook drive and dunk that made Mackey Arena aware of his presence after some early missed jumpers.
Neither team seemed able to gain much of an edge for the early part of the first half, continuing to trade blows. Iowa’s defense looked solid in the early, particularly without contributions from Garza, and it was crucial in keeping the game close when the reserve lineup struggled to score early in the half.
Purdue started to open up its first large lead of the game when an Edwards free throw made the score 23-17 with 9:19 remaining in the half. A 1-1 trip to the charity stripe for the Hawks was followed by a Boilermaker 3 before a Maishe Dailey turnover made the score 28-18. The Boilermakers had their first double-digit lead after the Hawkeyes had gone over three minutes without scoring a field goal.
A pair of Tyler Cook free throws kept the Hawkeyes in the game as the defense managed to do its job, but the field goal drought continued as Edwards and the Boilermakers heated up from beyond the arc, making Iowa’s deficit grow.
Fran McCaffery finally called a timeout with 3:46 remaining in the half and the game feeling out of hand at 37-22. The Hawkeyes responded after the timeout with a 3 pointer of their own, but the Boilermakers responded with an easy feed and dunk to negate any progress for the Hawkeyes. Any time the Hawkeyes made any kind of dent in the Purdue lead, the Boilermakers would respond with a basket.
Things started looking up when Jordan Bohannon hit his first 3-pointer of the day with 1:55 remanning in the half, and Ryan Kriener was fouled at the same time. After he sunk both of his free throws, completing the extremely elusive five-point play, the Hawkeyes had the lead down to a manageable 10. But turnovers and foul trouble got Iowa back in trouble and the Hawkeyes ended the half trailing 52-35. Purdue shot 63%, tallied 13 assists to 3 turnovers, and averaged 1.57 points per possession in the first half alone.
It didn’t get much better for the Hawkeyes in the second half. Tyler Cook got the scoring going with an early and-1, but the Boilermaker lead was too much, and the home team continued passing well, this time into the paint. The Purdue lead just continued to swell, up to as much as 23 with 16 minutes left in the game thanks to an 11-0 run, and that was truly all she wrote. The Boilermakers nearly had a 30 point lead midway through the second half before the reserves made the score look a bit more respectable, but the second half had no intrigue.
So...what next? Iowa returns to action on Sunday against a tough Nebraska squad, and faces Northwestern after that. It’s definitely possible that the team starts conference play 0-5, which is really not good. This team has shown spurts of really good defense followed by longer spurts of really ineffective play on both ends of the court. The scoring droughts are certainly not a welcome returning factor from last season.
I don’t know where this team goes from here, but the ship needs to be righted quickly if this season is going to remembered as an improvement in any way over last year.