Iowa 96 - Indiana 90: Ties & Lead Changes

By Patrick Vint on February 21, 2017 at 10:43 pm
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Indiana started Tuesday night's game against Iowa on a 9-0 run, and the Hoosiers were up 12-2 when ESPN2 took its first commercial timeout.  And yet, Iowa came back. With 5:06 left before the half, Nicholas Baer made a three-point shot to tie the game at 26.  But 55 seconds later, Indiana center Thomas Bryant made a layup, and Iowa never had the lead.

Indiana extended that lead to seven, but again Iowa came back.  The Hawkeyes narrowed the Hoosiers' advantage to one point at the half, and once again tied the game in the first minute of the second half.  But 15 seconds later, Robert Johnson made a jumper, and Iowa never had the lead.

Indiana once again extended their lead to seven, and, yet again, Iowa came back. Freshman guard Jordan Bohannon made his first shot of the night with 6:52 left to play, a three-pointer that tied the game at 55.  But Indiana responded with a pair of treys, and Iowa never had the lead.

With 2:44 left, Iowa forced a turnover, and Christian Williams -- playing the game of his life -- hit Tyler Cook on a transition alley oop to tie Indiana at 70.  Williams committed a bad foul on the other end, and Robert Johnson made one of two free throws, and then it finally happened: Baer drove the lane and found Cook on the baseline.  Cook threw it down over Bryant, staring down the Indiana big man, and canned the free throw, and after 38 minutes, Iowa had finally taken the lead.  

Even with Williams missing a pair of free throws off a subsequent Indiana turnover and Indiana forcing yet another tie on a putback, even with a bad Bohannon turnover leading to two free throws by Josh Newkirk that again tied the game, this time with 25 seconds left, even when the referees swallowed their whistles on three Bryant fouls in the final possession, the dunk was the coup de grace.  Once Iowa finally got ahead, once it had pushed Sisyphus' rock over the hill, it was never losing this game.

It still took overtime, as all games where ties mean so much must.  Peter Jok scored Iowa's first eleven points, countering big shots and bigger offensive rebounds by Indiana all the way through the extra period.  And with two minutes left, the Hoosiers finally, unequivocally imploded.  Another Cook dunk provided the exclamation point, and when ten minutes of Indiana delay tactics came to an end, the Hawkeyes walked out with a 96-90 win.  

Iowa scored 64 in the final 25 minutes, including a staggering 21 in overtime.  Peter Jok finished with 35 points, five rebounds and three steals.  He broke Don Nelson's school record with 22 made free throws in a single game, missing just one from the line. Cook added 14 points, five rebounds and the spark when needed.  Williams and Baer each had 10 points, with Baer adding seven rebounds and two blocks.

We've seen two Iowa teams in the last three years implode in Feburary. Those were veteran teams with NCAA Tournament and Big Ten championship aspirations, teams that had everything to play for and couldn't find their way up the hill.  This young squad, with so many key guys playing their first February in the Big Ten, in the midst of a three-game losing streak and with little more than NIT placement left to consequence, had every excuse to fold up.  Instead, it fought for 38 minutes to get over that mountain, and it got there against a team that just watched its own postseason hopes vanish.  It's a great night to be a Hawkeye, with the future of this squad in front of us.  You're damn right we're moving our feet.

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