Hawkeyes Take Fight to Hoosiers, 58-43

Bloomington – The Assembly Hall crowd arrived late Sunday…and then left early. The announced crowd of 16,079 also showed up in good spirits thanks to the Indianapolis Colts' AFC title game win against the New York Jets and left disappointed after the Hoosiers' lackluster performance in a 58-43 loss to Iowa...

Bloomington – The Assembly Hall crowd arrived late Sunday…and then left early.

The announced crowd of 16,079 also showed up in good spirits thanks to the Indianapolis Colts' AFC title game win against the New York Jets and left disappointed after the Hoosiers' lackluster performance in a 58-43 loss to Iowa.

For the first time in two years, Indiana headed into a Big Ten contest favored to win after its back-to-back wins against Minnesota and Penn State. But Tom Crean's team didn't play in a way that was at all reminiscent of how it's played in the last couple of games. The Hoosiers were out-rebounded 39-23, missed all nine of its 3-point attempts, and had only three assists compared to 16 turnovers while dropping to 9-10 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten.

It was an effort that prompted more than half of the crowd to leave before the final horn, and it wasn't appealing to the eye of Crean, either.

"It came down to a lack of physicality and toughness throughout the entire day," Crean said. "There will be 50 things that we could have done better, but those two parts are what cost us today."

That lack-of-fight manifested itself the most on the boards. Iowa, which entered the game with a -5.0 rebounding margin on the season, dominated the Hoosiers 21-10 in the first half while opening a 28-19 lead on the scoreboard. The second half wasn't much better, as Iowa finished the contest with a 39-23 rebounding edge that helped produce a 20-7 edge in second-chance points and a 34-16 margin in points in the paint.

Iowa forward Jarryd Cole led the way with 10 rebounds – including eight on the offensive end – to go along with his 11 points. The Hawkeyes finished with six different players grabbing at least four rebounds. Indiana, in contrast, got 12 from its starting frontline of Tom Pritchard and Christian Watford, but no one else had more than three.

Particularly troubling to Crean was the two total rebounds amassed by his starting backcourt of Jeremiah Rivers, Jordan Hulls and Verdell Jones in a combined 87 minutes of play. Rivers entered the game averaging 5.4/game and Jones 4.1, but neither was a factor at all Sunday.

"Our job on the backboards was atrocious," Crean said." We played hard, and they played a lot harder."

Crean even went as far afterwards to say that the -16 rebounding margin might be reason enough to shuffle his starting lineup when his team returns to the court on Saturday against Illinois. While he's utilized the three-guard starting lineup almost exclusively this season, Sunday's result has him reconsidering his options.

"It's impossible to win that way," Crean said. "If we don't get guard rebounds, we can't compete."

Indiana's rebounding problems were obvious from the outset. Iowa made seven of its first 10 shots from the floor and corralled the offensive rebound on the three misses, which quickly landed Crean's team in a 10-point hole in the game's first eight minutes. An 11-0 Indiana run gave IU a 17-16 edge, but Iowa responded to take a nine-point lead at half.

The Hoosiers did manage to chip away at the lead in the second half, eventually closing to within two, 33-31, following three straight baskets by Verdell Jones who led IU with 14 points. But back-to-back 3-pointers from wide-body Iowa reserve center Brennan Cougill pushed the lead back to nine moments later, and IU would get no closer than eight the rest of the way.

The win ended a 15-game Big Ten road losing streak for Iowa, which improved to 8-12 overall and 2-5 in the Big Ten.

"If you'd told me before the game that we'd have 21 turnovers and win, I wouldn't have believed you," said Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter. "But keeping your composure, staying poised, and continuing to guard and rebound are huge."

Iowa did those things to secure its third win in its last four games, which Indiana wasted a an opportunity to run its winning streak to three. For Crean, there was no mistaking the reason for his team's struggles.

"We didn't come to fight," Crean said. "I'm not shipping anyone out, but we didn't come to be in a fight and we got it handed to us because of it."

INDIANA 43
Watford 4-12 2-2 10, Pritchard 1-3 0-2 2, Hulls 1-6 3-3 5, Rivers 1-4 0-0 2, Jones 6-12 2-2 14, Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Muniru 0-0 0-0 0, Capobianco 0-1 0-0 0, Elston 2-3 0-0 4, Dumes 1-4 4-6 6, Jobe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-45 11-15 43.

IOWA 58
Fuller 6-11 1-2 13, Cole 5-6 1-1 11, Payne 2-10 4-8 8, Gatens 2-9 1-2 7, May 4-6 0-0 9, Bawinkel 0-1 0-0 0, Brommer 0-0 0-0 0, Lickliter 0-2 0-0 0, Cougill 3-3 2-2 10. Totals 22-48 9-15 58.

3-Pointers: Indiana 0-9 (Hulls 0-5, Jones 0-2, Dumes 0-2), Iowa 5-14 (Gatens 2-6, Cougill 2-2, Lickliter 0-2, Bawinkel 0-1, Payne 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 23 (Pritchard 7), Iowa 39 (Cole 10). Assists: Indiana 3 (Rivers 2), Iowa 9 (Payne 3). Turnovers: Indiana 16, Iowa 21. Blocks: Indiana 5 (Rivers 2, Jones 2, Pritchard 1), Iowa 4 (Fuller, Cole, May, Cougill). Steals: Indiana 9, Iowa 6. Officials: Rick Hartzell, Tom O'Neill, Steve Olson. Attendance: 16,078.


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