The thousands of fans who weathered the inhospitable Iowa City weather were treated to a typical Iowa basketball game: Impressive offensive performance, poor defense, and another loss. It was an ominous start, as the game quite literally began with a clock malfunction and a delay in play. But Iowa surprised everyone, including the Indiana Hoosiers, as they started out 10-10 and took a 23-13 lead before missing their first shot:
The story of the game, though, was that despite Iowa’s impressive shooting, the Hoosiers hung around. The Hawkeyes shot a scorching 71% in the first half, led by the hot hands of Tyler Cook and Luka Garza, who combined for 26 points. They were also able to make a fair percentage of their three-point shots, going 5-9 from deep, with two of those makes coming from Maishe Dailey. Tyler Cook also didn’t appreciate people trying to dunk in his house:
Yet, it was only a 45-42 lead by Iowa at the half. Why, you ask? Turnovers, of course! Iowa turned the ball over 11 times compared to Indiana’s 6, and the Hoosiers scored 14 points off of those turnovers. It also didn’t help that the Hoosiers were allowed to finish the half on a 5-5 shooting streak.
Their hot shooting continued in the second half for the Hoosiers, thanks to the ridiculous 3-point shooting of Robert Johnson, who led all scoring with 29 points. He also tied the Indiana single game 3-point record by making 9-12 (!) of his shots from deep. Johnson also had some help from Devonte Green, who scored 18 points and also made 4-5 from 3-point range.
Down 72-60 with around 10 minutes left in the game, it looked like Iowa was going to fold up shop and let the Hoosiers rout them in their own arena. Fortunately, Jordan Bohannon wasn’t having that and thanks to a sudden desire to play defense and a couple of JoBo three-pointers, the Hawkeyes closed the margin to 73-74 with just over 5 minutes left in the game. At that point, Tyler Cook started to take over and the Hawkeyes led 82-80 with 2 minutes remaining in the game.
The Hoosiers tied it up and Iowa went to work on offense with Cook driving to the hoop and…
Stepping out of bounds.
I mean, the replay didn’t show him stepping out bounds but apparently, it was the step BEFORE the replay that you couldn’t see. Anyway, Iowa turns it over and Indiana goes down to score and take an 84-82 lead. The Hawkeyes got the ball back and Cook once again drove to the hoop but missed, leading to a Hoosier rebound. With little time left on the clock, they fouled Robert Johnson and it appeared that the Hawkeyes days were numbered by fouling such a good free throw shooter. Somehow, he misses…and shenanigans ensue.
With 23 seconds left on the clock and a two point deficit, Iowa looked completely clueless on offense and was forced to call a timeout with 9 seconds in the game. Of note, the players called the timeout, not Fran. See, Fran’s philosophy is to always let his players “play through” adversity. Of course, that makes you ask the question of what he actually does as an in-game coach but hey maybe that’s a conversation for another time. Anyway, Iowa calls a “play” (if that’s what you want to call it), misses a couple shots and Indiana wins 84-82.
By the end of the game, Indiana shot a better 3-point percentage (58%) than Iowa did from the floor (55%), going 14-24 from deep. Iowa managed to slow turn their turnover rate in the second half, but still finished with a whopping 17 and Indiana scored 18 points off of those turnovers.
You have to give the Iowa players credit for playing through the adversity and fighting to get back into the game. Unfortunately, the Hawkeyes just aren’t very good on defense and haven’t shown any sort of progression in that area over the course of the season. That’s why they lose games. And that’s why they’ll continue to lose games unless they’re coached better on that front.