IOWA CITY, Iowa David Palmer doesn't belong on a list with Dexy's Midnight Runners or the Baha Men. The Iowa big man showed on Wednesday that he's more than a one-hit wonder.
The wonderful story of Palmer going from bench warmer to key component wound up with a happy ending on Wednesday night. Despite losing a lead in the final minutes of regulation, Iowa pulled out a 73-69 overtime win against Wisconsin. The victory stopped a three-game slide for the home team.
"I wanted to win, and obviously I played hard and put some points in the board," Palmer said. "But that was a secondary story because we came in and got a big win on a good team at home. Nothing feels better than that."
After scoring 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds his first start on Sunday during a loss at Purdue, Palmer opened up the game against Wisconsin and produced again. The 6-foot-9 junior, who had been averaging 3.6 minutes a game before Purdue, finished with a career-high 21 points and seven rebounds.
"The difference in what David has done is that he's accepted his strengths and he's playing to them," Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said. "He knows how to fit into the team and he's satisfied with that. And that's nothing against David. I think we all go through it.
"To David's credit, he never stopped trying to do what we ask him to do. It's a great lesson for people. You get bitter or you get better. He had opportunities the last few weeks where people asked questions and he responded in a mature, team-oriented way."
Jeff Peterson added 16 points and hit some crucial free throws and a huge 3-pointer in overtime. He also dished out seven assists to three turnovers. Matt Gatens chipped in with 14 points and five rebounds. Marcus Landry paced the Badgers with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Iowa outscored the Badgers 26-8 from the foul line in a game that saw 14 ties and seven lead changes.
"Some of that was a result of us playing from behind," Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan said. "But the rest is pretty obvious. They hit some big shots, Peterson was good with the ball, but the free throws were pretty obvious."
Iowa captain Cyrus Tate missed his third consecutive game with a high ankle sprain. He tested it in warm-ups, but it did not prove strong enough.
"He's moving better," said Lickliter, who couldn‘t make a call on Tate‘s availability for Saturday at Penn State. "It's a sore injury. He's got a lot of bruising and a lot of swelling. I know this, if he could play he would."
Iowa also announced earlier in the day that freshman guard Anthony Tucker would miss the second semester because he failed to meet Big Ten academic standards. He dressed in street clothes and watched from the bench.
Lickliter said he believed that Tucker would remain with the program.
"That's my understanding," the coach said. "I have no reason to think that he won't."
Iowa grabbed a 70-64 lead with 1 minute, 1 seconds remaining in overtime when Peterson and Devan Bawinkel each swished through a 3-pointer. Taylor connected on a trey to cut the visitors' deficit to three. Peterson hit one of two free throws to again make it a two-possession game.
Taylor missed a 3-point attempt and the ball went out of bounds to Iowa. After a timeout, Bawinkle threw the ball away attempting to get it to Palmer. Cedar Rapids native Jason Bohannon missed a three try for Wisconsin and Gatens pulled the board. The freshman hit both free throws to seal the game.
After being blown out in back to back road losses at Michigan and Purdue the last two Sundays, Iowa looked much more composed against the Badgers. The Hawkeyes tied the score at 37-37 with 7 minutes, 41 seconds to play in the game when Palmer knocked down a pair of free throws. Wisconsin had built a seven-point lead at the 12-minute mark.
The teams battled back and forth from there with neither team enjoying more than three-point lead. The visitors were ahead 49-47 with 2:51 to play when Jordan Taylor broke for what looked like it was going to be a breakaway lay-up. But Iowa's Aaron Fuller caught up to him and blocked his shot in a tremendous show of athleticism.
The play caused Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan to lose control. He was tagged with a technical. Jeff Peterson dropped in both foul shots and then got fouled again as Iowa regained possession after the tech. The point guard knocked down two more and the home team had a 51-49 lead with 2:38 left.
Wisconsin got a short two from Jon Leuer to tie it, but Kelly hit a three-pointer and two free throws on consecutive Iowa possessions to put Iowa ahead 56-51 with :43.8 on the clock. Between the two Kelly scores, Cedar Rapids native Jason Bohannon missed a wide open three from the corner.
Bohannon then hit two foul shots at the :36.8 mark to make it 56-53 Iowa. Kelly burned 10 seconds off by dribbling around and then hit two more free throws to push the lead back to five. Joe Krabbenhoft dropped down a lay-up a few second later, but then fouled Gatens, disqualifying him from the game.
Gatens stepped up and hit one of two. Landry hit a two other end and the Hawkeye lead was cut to 59-57 with :09.0 remaining.
The Badgers fouled Peterson on the inbounds play, and the sophomore made one of two free throws. Wisconsin had life. The Badgers called a timeout with :03.1 left to set up a final play.
The visitors were looking to get the ball into Bohannon, but Iowa covered him well. The entry pass ended up in the hands of Taylor, who took two dribbles to his left and unleashed a bomb from the top of the key, about 30 feet away - nothing but net.
"We wanted to foul if we could, but Jake couldn't get to him," Lickliter said. "He made the right play; just make him make it. He makes a big shot.
"You could imagine. You could be deflated. But they didn't respond that way. They showed resolve. I'm proud of them."
With Wisconsin leading 45-44 with 4:11 to play in the game, Gatens crumbled to the floor after being called for a foul. The game stopped for several minutes while the trainers went to work on him. He walked off the court on his own.
The more veteran Wisconsin team banged the Hawkeyes around early, especially on the offense boards, and ran out to a 9-5 four minutes into the contest. Instead of folding as it had during a three-game losing streak, Iowa pushed back and jumped ahead 20-18 on a Palmer jumper with 7:24 remaining in the first half.
Iowa did not score for the rest of the half, however, suffering through another scoring drought that has plagued the team the last two seasons. Iowa managed to stay in the game by continuing to play physically against the bigger Badgers. Wisconsin took a 24-20 lead into the locker room. The game was tied five times and the changed hands four times in the first half.
After turning the ball over 54 times during the three-game skid, Iowa took much better care of the basketball on Wednesday night. The Hawkeyes gave it away only nine times in an overtime game.
"For us, that's not good, that's great," Lickliter said.
Bohannon, a Linn-Mar graduate, suffered through an unwelcome homecoming. The Wisconsin junior finished with 11 points on 2 of 9 shooting from the floor, including 1 of 6 from three.