The #20/20 Iowa Hawkeyes (18-5, 7-5) held a double-digit lead for much of the game but needed some gutsy shooting from Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook to come away from Assembly Hall with a 77-72 win over the Indiana Hoosiers (13-10, 4-8).
Iowa opened up a 9-2 lead in the early minutes of the game behind a concerted effort inside and a Joe Wieskamp three. After a number of quick misses, the lead quickly turned into a four-point deficit behind seven quick fast break points from IU and 6/7 shooting before Fran McCaffery called a timeout to settle the team (IU had just seven more fast break points on the game) and make some lineup changes.
The Hawkeyes flipped to a zone defense which befuddled IU for the next seven minutes as Iowa was able to build a 26-18 lead with some impressive shooting from Joe Wieskamp, who went 4/4 from three in the first half and finished with 13 points.
Throughout that time, foul trouble hit both teams, as Juwan Morgan was forced to the bench for Indiana and both Luka Garza and Ryan Kriener sat with two fouls. It almost reached a fever pitch when a foul was initially given to Tyler Cook despite going straight up on a driving Hoosier. After a not-so-quick conversation, it was given to Isaiah Moss and Cook avoided his second foul.
Though it occurred during a 9-0 Indiana run - all points by Justin Smith and Aljami Durham - it allowed Fran to keep Cook on the floor as Iowa’s only available post player. He scored seven points after the almost foul and helped Iowa turn a three-point lead into a 46-36 halftime lead.
The second half mirrored much of what we saw against Michigan, as Iowa was able to grind out the win despite shooting just 40% in the second half. Indiana’s defensive effort ramped up as Iowa couldn’t turn a five-minute stretch where IU scored just one point past 10, at 58-48.
The half was reminiscent of the all-to-familiar football games where Iowa seems to hold the ball for 3 or 4 minutes before punting it away. It was stagnant despite Morgan sitting for a good portion of it with four fouls and Wieskamp went quiet as he rarely touched the ball during the middle of the period.
Indiana closed the gap to 64-61 after De’Ron Davis sank a couple free throws. Another nasty possession followed before the ball found Tyler Cook’s hands and he sank a baseline jumper to put Iowa up five as the shot clock went down. He finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals to just 2 turnovers. He played 37 minutes in arguably his most complete game as a Hawkeye.
IU traded Morgan dunks with bonkers Jordan Bohannon threes, the second of which took the lead to 72-65. After a couple Romeo Langford free throws, it turned into the Connor McCaffery-Jordan Bohannon inbounding extravaganza which afforded Iowa the opportunity to ice the game on 5/6 free throw shooting from Bo. It capped a 19-point half for Bohannon, for 25 points on the game to go with 6 assists and no turnovers.
Like the two comeback victories on the road before it, this was the type of game Iowa does not win last year, even if they are given a ten-point lead at half. It is the type of win a team gets after being battle-hardened through nothing other than experience. After all, the guys Iowa leaned on down the stretch have been on campus for the better part of three years.
Now, the schedule sets up nicely with three home games in the next four, including a rematch with Indiana on February 22nd. If the Hawkeyes are able to put a run together, they can put themselves in a position for that elusive double-bye. Though nothing is easy in the Big Ten and nothing should be taken for granted, it’s hard not to like what we’re seeing from this Hawkeye team.
- It was a rough night for Luka Garza - only 4 points on 1/4 shooting and 5 fouls - but he did yeoman’s work in the 13 minutes he was out there with 4 offensive rebounds. His final board came in a minute-long possession where Iowa could not get a basket down the stretch. Ryan Kriener also had a night to forget as the two threes he took were not pretty.
- The Hawkeyes had another clean game with just 9 turnovers. Much of it seems to be driven by finding guards after defensive rebounds and being comfortable running half court offense. On the flipside, Iowa forced 12 Indiana turnovers - including 8 steals - and converted them into 19 points.
- Romeo Langford had a quiet 22 points on 12 shots but he lost Joe Wieskamp more than once on defense in the first half. Juwan Morgan had 17 points in 22 minutes. He’d have played more, but was sent to the bench with two quick second half fouls which gave him four on the game.
- Iowa’s defense was once again good enough, as they held IU under ~1.1 points per possession. Iowa is 18-1 when holding opponents at or under that mark. It was pretty clear they could not match the athleticism the Hoosiers had across the board and really stifled them once they switched to a zone. Iowa stuck in a zone for much of the second half, which allowed IU to develop a little bit of a rhythm. It was enough though, which is all Iowa needs from that end of the floor.
Iowa hosts Northwestern Sunday, 2/10 at 5:30 God’s Time.