This one will sting for a while.
The Hoosiers (6-15 overall, 1-7 conference) ended an 11-game losing streak by defeating Iowa, 68-60, at Alumni Hall in Bloomington. A furious Hawkeye comeback fell short in the final minute.
"It's frustrating," Iowa Freshman Matt Gatens said on the radio postgame. "At the same time, we just have to get after it tomorrow. It's not fun losing. The sooner we understand that and want to win a little bit more, it will start happening. It needs to start with our next game (Saturday against Northwestern)."
Gatens paced Iowa with 22 points, 21 of which came after halftime. Jeff Peterson added 12 points and five assists for the visitors. He also committed six of the team's 14 turnovers.
"As I told the team, I don't think that you learn how to win by winning," Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said on the radio postgame. "You can really learn how to win by getting fed up with losing and doing something about it.
"We're at a point where some guys are going to have to make a decision that they're going to do something. And I'm not putting it all on them. We have to do some stuff, too."
Starting guard Jake Kelly picked up his fourth personal foul early in the second half. He played just nine minutes before the intermission after picking up his third. He finished with two points in 23 minutes.
"He just fouled so much," Lickliter said. "They got up and wouldn't let him drive and wouldn't let him use on-ball (screens). He's not a terrific shooter. That's a problem.
"So, they move up twice and wouldn't let him use on-balls and he charges two times. Well, if a guy is standing there, you can't drive there. You can come off of them, but you can't go through an individual. You have to go around them a little. We really struggle with, just, decision making; seeing the game."
In a game pitting the two youngest teams against each other, Lickliter again was frustrated with the strength level of his team.
"It's not like we're weak, we just don't have Big Ten strength," the coach said. "The stronger you are, the more confidence you have, the more contact you take. We've made a huge mistake in not committing more to the weight room and to strength development and we're paying for it now. Hopefully, we can get that rectified."
Lickliter was impressed with the turnout in Alumni Hall despite the Hoosiers' struggles this year, feeling that made it much harder on his Hawkeyes on Wednesday.
"My hat goes off to them. What a crowd," the Iowa coach said. "We're shooting into a sea of red and white students on the free throw line on both ends. And this is a team that struggled mightily, more than we have. So, my hat goes off to them. I was really impressed with the environment here."
Devan Dumas led the winners with 27 points, hitting 8 of nine shots from the floor, including all five three-point attempts. Nick Williams added 14 points and grab nine rebounds for the home team.
Jarryd Cole (seven points, six rebounds, season-high 29 minutes) started for just the second time this season. The Hawkeyes sophomore co-captain, who scored 10 points in each of his last two games, took the place of David Palmer. Jermain Davis returned to the starting line-up with Aaron Fuller moving back to the bench.
After building a 13-point lead at halftime, Indiana came out of the break determined to put the game away. The home team grabbed a 49-29 lead with just under 12 minutes to play in the game and it appeared to be over.
But the game Hawkeyes (12-11, 2-8) fought back to get within 59-56 with 1 minute, 29 seconds to play in the contest. Dumas drained a 3-pointer on Indiana's next trip, but Gatens and Peterson connected on a lay-ups on consecutive possessions to pull the visitors to within three points of the lead with :44 on the clock.
Those would be the final points for the Hawkeyes. Indiana scored the last five of the game with help from a pair of Iowa turnovers.
After the first turnover, Indiana broke free on a fast break. But the Hoosiers missed a lay-up but hit the follow. Three of the Iowa defenders never got past half court in an attempt to get the defensive rebound.
Indiana enjoyed a 33-20 halftime lead courtesy of an 8-0 run during the final three minutes. The Hooisers switched to a zone defense that confounded Iowa.
Iowa had not started 2-8 in the conference since losing 11 of 13 to start the 1983-84 season.
"There has to come a point where we say, as an individual, and we bring others along, "we're not going to do this anymore,"" Lickliter said. "We need to understand that it's not the final play that wins or loses a game. It's the one where we didn't block out. We had one possession where they shot an air ball and we didn't get the rebound."