Iowa 'Out-efforts' Purdue, Wins 71-61

Rumors of the death of the Iowa Basketball program have been greatly exaggerated. Or at least that seemed to be the case on Wednesday night, as Iowa played hard-nosed defense and made its free throws in beating #25 Purdue 71-61 in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes came into the game shooting just .637 from the line. But against Purdue, they converted 29 of 37 free throws while the Boilermakers made just 6 of 26 shots from three-point land.

Iowa assistant Greg Lansing had the scout for tonight's game, and Iowa played a 2-3 zone defense for much of the game, something that worked well as Purdue did not score many points in the paint and continued their cold shooting from beyond the arc.

Two reserves really sparked the Hawkeyes on the night: Freshman Mike Henderson and senior Sean Sonderleiter.

Henderson got to the basket at will in the first half and continued attacking the rim in the second half with a nifty cross over move at the top of the key, hitting the lay in after the drive to give Iowa a 41-37 lead with 13:44 remaining in the game.

At the 12:21 mark, Sonderleiter began his assault on the offensive glass, scoring two straight put backs off of offensive rebounds, but Purdue was still down by just four points at the 11:39 TV timeout.

Sondy then went back to work on the offensive glass, hauling in his own missed shot and sticking the put back to give Iowa a 47-41 lead.

The pesky Boilermakers would not go away, as a 10 foot baseline jumper by Brett Buscher pulled Purdue to within three points at 49-46 with 9:15 to go in the game.

It was at this point that Iowa began to attack Purdue after the Boilers made baskets and were slow getting back. The Hawkeyes found a streaking Worley who hit his shot and was fouled. He made the free throw, and Iowa was up 52-56.

Pierre Pierce hit two free throws and David Teague hit a two-pointer for the Boilers, but the Hawkeyes got the ball in quickly and found a streaking Jared Reiner who hit the lay in, was fouled and made the free throw to give Iowa a 57-50 lead with 7:58 to go.

Iowa was also running well in the second half off of secondary breaks.

After scrambling for a defensive rebound, Jeff Horner hit Pierce on the outlet and Pierre drove to the basket, made the lay in, was fouled and he converted his free throw to give Iowa a 10-point lead with 6:55 to go.

The Boilers would never get closer than six points the rest of the way.

Pierce hit 13 of 16 from the foul line, which was certainly an uncharacteristic good night for a player that had shot less than 60-percent from the line this season. Pierce led the Hawkeyes with 19 points, and saw his free throw percentage climb to .625 on the year.

Jeff Horner had 10 points for Iowa, including eight of nine shooting from the charity stripe. He also led Iowa with 10 rebounds and four assists.

Mike Henderson had eight points off the bench for Iowa and Sonderleiter chipped in six. All of Sondy's points came off of offensive rebound put backs.

Jared Reiner scored 14 points and had eight rebounds.

After committing nine first half turnovers, the Hawkeyes cut their second half giveaways down to four and finished the game with just 13 turnovers, a number that is near their team goal for each game.

Iowa played solid defense all evening, forcing 18 Purdue turnovers.

This was a must-win game for Iowa, and they came out and played with grit, heart and determination for nearly all 40 minutes.

Every loose ball seemed to end up in Iowa's hands and several Hawkeyes were diving for loose balls, led by Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner, per usual.

Iowa allowed 16 offensive rebounds in the game, eight in each half, which is too many. But the Hawkeyes had 12 offensive caroms of their own and the teams tied with 39 rebounds apiece.

Iowa held Purdue to just .375 from the floor, and they are holding teams to .377 from the floor on the season, the best mark in the Big Ten.

Three years ago in Iowa City, Reggie Evans shot 22 free throws against Purdue in a home win. Gene Keady had a lot of fun with that in the post game interview room, complaining about it. Rumor had it that there was even a call placed to Rich Faulk, head of officials in the Big Ten. The next game out at Illinois, Evans got to the line five times, something Alford was none too pleased with.

With Iowa shooting 37 free throws tonight, and Pierce getting to the line 16 times, compared to just 10 for the Boilermakers, will Mean Gene strike again? Iowa also shot 41 free throws in a win at Purdue three seasons ago.


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