Back to the drawing board.
A week of working on offense and changing the starting lineup couldn't remedy Iowa's ills on the basketball court. The Hawkeyes dropped a 75-52 decision to Purdue in West Lafayette on Sunday. It was the second blowout in a row on the road.
Michigan knocked off Iowa, 64-49, a week ago in Ann Arbor. The Hawkeyes (11-7 overall, 1-4 Big Ten) now have lost three consecutive games and five of their last seven.
Iowa turned the ball over 19 times in Mackey Arena after giving it away 35 times in its previous two games. That made 54 giveaways during the three-game skid. Purdue enjoyed a 17-7 advantage in points off of turnovers.
"We struggled to enter the basketball," Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said on his postgame radio show. "You had to make your first shot. In a 20-point loss, we actually got some good contributions from people, some good stretches of play. But you're talking a team (Purdue) that can really shoot the ball.
"They were as efficient as any team I've coached against. It was one of those games where it was going to be very, very tough to beat them today. I don‘t care who‘s coming in here."
Iowa shook up the starting lineup on Sunday. Seldom-used reserve David Palmer opened at center for the injured Cyrus Tate and Aaron Fuller bumped Jermain Davis from the Top 5. Davis didn't get in until the 5:20 mark of the first half after starting the previous nine contests.
Palmer, who came into the game averaging 3.6 minutes - the second fewest on the team, played 25 minutes in his first career start. The 6-9 big man from Tennessee posted game and career highs in points (19) and rebounds (eight).
"I think this is all about perseverance, " Palmer told Iowa radio color man Bobby Hansen after the game. "Some people just have to work a little bit harder than others. I've been sitting out a long time, and I think the coaches have done a good job in preparing me for this moment, too. When I got to play, I think I earned it because I had one of my best weeks in practice. I really paid attention to detail this week."
Lickliter said he got what he expected from Palmer.
"We really didn't find a spark in him," the coach said. "The reason he played is because he's been steadily playing better and getting comfortable. With Cyrus out, we had gone with Jarryd (Cole) and Andrew (Brommer). In practice this week, David had been getting more done.
"That's what I do anyway. I watch guys in practice. Guys that get the most done, that contribute the most, then we assign them playing time. It's no different than in any other profession. You're rewarded by your contribution and what you do and the way that you approach things."
Lickliter said that Palmer's approach has been good since the coach took over the program last season.
"It's not an easy thing," Lickliter said. "Everybody wants to play. But you have 200 minutes and we have three or four guys that are on the court a lot. So, you're dividing those other minutes up at a position, basically. There's limited numbers. If David plays, than Jarryd doesn't. If Cyrus is in there, then so on. "
Palmer was hoping that Lickliter considers playing him along side Tate when the latter returns from an ankle sprain.
"When he returns, maybe I'll get to play some four with him and be a tandem," Palmer said. "I can pick and pop and help him rebound and just help him on the inside. Obviously, he's going to need some help there because the Big Ten is tough. I found out how tough it was today."
Nineteenth-ranked Purdue (14-4, 3-2) placed four players in double figures for scoring, led by E'Twaun Moore's 13. Seven Boilermakers scored at least six points. Matt Gatens added 11 points for Iowa, which got nine assists and six turnovers from Jeff Peterson.
Palmer's breakout performance was not close to enough to carry his team past Purdue. Two Palmer free throws with 16 minutes, four seconds remaining in the game cut the home team lead to 35-28. That's as close as Iowa would get the rest of the game.
The Boilermakers embarked on a 14-0 run to go up by 21 seven minutes into the second half. The home team rained down 3-pointers with superb accuracy (9-of-13 in the first 30:00). It hit three in a row during the decisive spurt.
Meanwhile, Iowa's offense looked eerily similar to the one we saw at Michigan last week. During Purdue's big run, Iowa went four minutes without a point. The visitors scored just 10 points in a nine-minute stretch that saw the Boilers push their lead to 68-38 with 7:20 to play in the game.
Iowa turned the ball over four times in the first three minutes of the game and fell behind 6-0. It was reminiscent of last week's start in a loss at Michigan.
Much like the trip to Ann Arbor, the Hawkeyes woke up to even the game at 11-11 about midway through the first half only to suffer another scoring drought fueled by turnovers. The visitors went almost seven minutes without a point and fell behind 19-11. Fuller's 3-pointer with 5:34 to play in the half ended the scoreless spell.
Fortunately for Iowa, the Boilermakers also were in a giving mood. Iowa gave it away 12 times in the first half. Purdue contributed eight to a sloppy opening 20 minutes.
Iowa was able to get within two points of the lead at 24-22 when Palmer followed his slashing lay-up with a 3-pointer with 1:57 remaining before the intermission. The Boilers responded with a 7-0 run to end the half. It culminated with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Marcus Green after Palmer aired a long jump shot on the other end.
Lickliter's Iowa teams fell to 1-8 against ranked opponents. The win came last year against Michigan State at home.
Iowa will return home in hopes of pulling off another upset this Wednesday. Wisconsin comes to town having won eight of the last nine games played in the series.
"Eventually we're going to perform the way we should," Lickliter said. "There have been times. This team has been a pleasure to watch at times. But we're going to get there. We're going to be very competitive throughout.
"What I would like is for our fans to believe in us to come right now when it doesn't look good and support us and show pride and help this team. Often, that's when you need it. I'm asking. I'm not guaranteeing wins, but I do think that this team in a very tough situation today fought and played hard. Am I upset with the outcome? Absolutely. But I'm not displeased with this team."