Saturday was payday for Luke Recker. Not the monetary kind, where you receive a check. This was a payday for Luke over the abusive Indiana fans and his former school. First he tied the game at 60 all with a high, arching trey. Then, after Indiana failed on six shots without being called for a foul(wink), Luke grabbed the ball and called timout as he fell out of bounds.
Thirteen seconds remained as Iowa got the ball inbounds and set up the play. Somehow, Luke was isolated on Jared Jeffries, a mismatch made in Hawkeye Heaven. The 6-10 Jeffries bit on Luke's fake to the left and Luke swept around him on the right side and arched a soft jumper that would find nothing but net on the way down. The ball left his hands with 0.3 seconds left in the game, surviving a challenge by the Indiana staff. The shot gave Iowa a hard earned 62-60 victory over the Hoosiers.
How can it get any better than this?
Recker, a former Mr. Basketball from Indiana and a former hoosier had received a rude reception in his return to Bloomington in February. As Jackie Gleason used to say, "How sweet it is!" Recker would echo those words after his last second heroics put a dagger in the hearts of the Hoosier faithful. Recker walked toward the crowd, pointing several times to the word Iowa on his jersey. This was a gentleman's way of flipping off the offensive Indiana fans.
"I love this state. I'm very fond of Indiana. But there's that 5 percent of fans that, unfortunately, act in a classless manner that probably made this more enjoyable to win" said Recker. "The hate mail I received, the e-mails, nothing life-threatening, but just the letter saying how bad you stink, is pretty tough," Recker said. "That's where the emotion came in and the tears came out. I can't describe to you what this feels like."
Recker's 17 points led the Hawks in this quarterfinal victory.
Pierre Pierce also stepped up today with 11 points and a heady floor game. Brody Boyd, a native of Dugger, Indiana contributed 10 points.
Mr. Double-Double, Reggie Evans, added 11 points and 10 boards. He and Sean Sonderleiter contributed to an interior defense that held Indiana star, Jared Jeffries, to 3 for 10 shooting from the field.
Iowa will face Ohio State today at 2:30 for the Big Ten Tourney Title and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.