Iowa answered every run by Indiana in Bloomington but just couldn't capitalize as they fall to the Hoosiers 85-78. There's now a three-way tie for first atop the Big Ten standings between the Hawkeyes, Indiana, and Maryland.
It was a night where they came out slow and trailed as much as 16 in the first half. It was a result of all the offensive rebounds the Hoosiers were able to grab and compounded by Tom Crean's bunch converting for second chance points. Iowa's defense was also not sharp. But they recovered and cut into the lead, shrinking it to seven by halftime.
The second half saw Iowa jump out fast and even hold a lead for a portion of the frame. They were unable to extend it and a final spurt by Indiana sealed the deal.
The Hawkeyes were at a huge disadvantage at the free throw line and off the bench. Their bench was outscored by Indiana 28-0. Iowa was 13-23 from the free throw line and the Hoosiers shot 18-21 from the charity stripe.
For Iowa, all the scoring came from the starters and all were in double figures. Uthoff finished with 24 while Gesell had 17. Woodbury capped off another double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Jok and Clemmons both contributed 12 points.
Here are the takeaways.
Despite the loss, they showed their mettle again. They were down as much as 16 and they had to overcome run after run that came from the Hoosiers. Down by nearly 20 points in one of the toughest venues in sports and this team responded. Not only did they respond and answer, they held a lead for a nice portion of the second half. It was a winnable game once again after a lot of adversity. Experience is key in these situations and the Hawkeyes have a lot of it.
It's been a problem all year and it's never really bitten them. There are a number of areas to point to for the reason for the loss but this is certainly one of them. There was such a big discrepancy between the two teams at the line. Iowa shot only 13-23 from the line while Indiana was 18-21.
The majority of their losses have come when they just got off to slow starts and they've been on the road. They've played well all year and responded each time but it's just an unnecessary disadvantage to put yourselves through. It's not a trend yet but it's happened a few times and some emphasis needs to be placed on it moving forward.
INCONSISTENT BENCH PLAY
The bench has been good this year, sometimes. Tonight was not one of those times. They were outscored by the Hoosiers' bench 28-0. That can't happen. Iowa's bench is good but just doesn't always show up. It has to show up in March for this team to make a deep run, as deep a run as they expect.
One positive that can be taken from this game is that it's just one game. They're still 10-2 in the league and have handled nearly every Big Ten opponent they've faced, and most by double digits. And tonight they still took care of the ball. Single digit turnovers on the road in Bloomington and you feel good about your chances to win most of the time. There's some areas to work on but this is one area that travels well and always gives you a chance to win. That's big. You're not going to win every game, losses happens. But when you're taking care of the ball in every place of the country, that does bode well for March.