The Iowa Hawkeyes (11-7, 3-4) came ready to play in front of the black & gold-striped crowd against the #2 Purdue Boilermakers (17-2, 6-2) but rebounding woes proved too much to overcome as the Boilers went on a first half 14-0 run, the ultimate difference at 84-70. Zach Edey continued to play like a returning national player of the year with a third straight 30 point double-double as the high man with 30 points.
Tony Perkins played well for the Hawkeyes, proving to be the most sustainable offense at times in the second half, ultimately finishing with 24 points on 10/19 shooting. To go against a team of Purdue’s caliber, you need to play exceptionally well and catch some breaks along the way. In yielding 19 offensive rebounds (8 for Edey) and going just 5/17 from deep and 11/16 from the line, that’s not gonna cut it.
However, the Hawkeyes never stopped trying to climb the mountain after getting down 19 points midway through the second. They closed the gap to 8 points with 4:22 to go but didn’t score another point the rest of the way. They had three shots to close the lead - two attempts from Payton Sandfort & one from Josh Dix - but an end-of-shot clock three from Lance Jones slammed the door shut with 1:35 remaining.
Tony Perkins is playing the best basketball of his career
The Indianapolis native always bring a little extra zhuzh to games against home state Indiana & Purdue but his 24-point game was especially important as he was the man who kept Iowa in it for much of the second half.
He kicked off the scoring with 9 of Iowa’s first 11 points before the 16:00-mark. Each of his other three baskets came quickly after Purdue scored. Guards getting tough baskets has been sorely needed for the Hawkeyes throughout Fran’s time in Iowa City and Perkins is really rounding into form.
What’s most important, though, is the consistency Perk has played with over the course of the last month. He’s been in double-digit scoring for nine straight games for an average of 16.8 PPG and shooting with reasonable efficiency in that timeframe (49.1% from the field). He’s also averaging 6 assists to just 1.63 turnovers for an ATO ratio of 3.69. Nice!
That’s guard play you can build around in the Big Ten season and postseason...if Iowa gets there. And look out but the Hawks might have two of them as Josh Dix once again scored in double digits.
The rebounding ... I mean what??
There’s really nothing defensible to how many offensive rebounds the Hawkeyes yielded. I understand it, in some respects, with so much attention devoted to Edey but my opinion is it became pretty early Iowa was over-helping at the loss of losing who they were guarding. This limited their ability to defend the three and box out consistently. Purdue, to their credit, did not make it easy and plays 3 modern centers at the power forward spot, so it’s a tall task. But allowing 19 offensive rebounds to just 20 defensive boards is not a way to win basketball games.
Purdue converted those into 18 second chance points.
Ladji Dembele goes down
Iowa hasn’t played a player like Dembele in quite awhile. It’s clear that he’s incredibly raw from a functional athleticism perspective but he really plays his heart out on the hardwood. He gave Edey fits with his spindly strength, is always ready to shoot a jumper, and gets as many 50/50 balls as anybody in his limited time on the court. In some ways, he plays like how I imagine Kris Murray would have played if he received extensive minutes in the 2020-21 season. A lot of potential.
Unfortunately, the freshman forward went down with a gnarly looking ankle injury midway through the second. Here’s hoping it’s not as bad as it looked and he’ll be back as quickly as possible.
Carver’s best crowd for the men’s team
There was a real buzz in Iowa City with Kadyn Proctor in attendance and the Chris Street game. Iowa fans showed out today and the team, for the most part, matched that energy. If Iowa had cut it to 5 in the waning minutes, the top would have blown off.
Obviously, a better result (no Iowa game has been decided by less than 8 points) would have been preferred but the lads never gave up.
Next up: Wed, January 24 vs Maryland at 6:00p CT (Big Ten Network)