IOWA CITY, Iowa — Forget about the other 10, Adam Haluska hit the two shots that mattered Tuesday night as 25th-ranked Iowa beat Drake for the 53rd time, 65-60, inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Haluska, who was 2 for 10 before the last two minutes, drained two 3-pointers in the final minute-and-a-half to push the Hawkeyes out to its only win against an in-state opponent during the regular season.
“Adam had a really poor shooting night, and he makes two huge 3s,” Iowa coach Steve Alford said. “He hadn’t made a play all night offensively, and he makes two huge baskets for us late in the game.”
Iowa (9-3) was down by three with three minutes remaining, following a layup by Aliou Keita who had a team-high 15 points and seven rebounds for Drake.
Doug Thomas got a dunk to bring the Hawkeyes within a point. Haluska’s first 3 gave Iowa a two-point lead, but Keita tied the game with another layup with a minute left.
Haluska nailed his third trey of the night following a 30-second timeout to give Iowa a 63-60 lead with 30 seconds to play. Drake (6-4) couldn’t respond, and Greg Brunner and Thomas both hit free throws to close it.
Brunner led Iowa with 17 points and 12 rebounds – his fourth consecutive double-double – and Thomas added 11.
“I was wide open right there and Carlton (Reed) and Mikey (Henderson) did a great job getting the ball to the open guy,” Haluska said. “What we were trying to do is get the zone shifted and make the bottom guy come out. We were trying to go after their bigs. It just so happened that they didn’t come out on both shots, and I had open looks and luckily they went in.”
Haluska shot 4 of 12 from the floor, 3 of 11 from 3-point range, for 11 points. He had six assists and three steals.
“There were a lot of open looks that I had that just weren’t going,” he said. “You’ve got to keep shooting it. Keep that confidence level up.”
Drake coach Tom Davis, who had coached Iowa from 1987-1999 and compiled a 269-140 record, said he knew Haluska could be the dark horse.
“When you get a player of that caliber, he can hurt you,” he said. “We had a defensive breakdown, which is going to happen in the pressure of the moment. It’s to his credit that he knocked them down.”
It didn’t surprise Mike Henderson either. Henderson had Iowa’s best shooting night, going 4 of 6 from the field and 4 of 4 at the line for 12 points in 37 minutes. He also had eight rebounds and four assists.
“We always look forward to (Haluska) making those shots because he’s our best shooter,” he said. “He was struggling and he got down on himself, but everyone on the team was telling him he’s a great shooter.”
Henderson, a junior guard, played a stabilizing role in a game where the Bulldogs’ full-court press harassed the Hawkeyes the entire night.
Drake scored 11-straight points to open with a nine-point lead, its largest of the game, and force Iowa into a timeout with 17:48 left in the first half.
“A lot of guys had their heads dropping on that 9-2 run,” Henderson said. “That’s usually the moment Jeff steps in and talks everybody up. I just tried to take that role tonight, tell everybody to keep their head up.”
Alford said Henderson’s play was critical with point guard Jeff Horner’s absence due to injury.
“All of our faith went into Mike,” the coach said. “He played Jeff Horner minutes tonight, and there might not be anybody as important tonight than Mikey.”
Brunner gave Iowa its first substantive lead on a three-point-play layup in the middle of 12-0 run midway through the first half.
The Hawkeyes held a 29-25 halftime advantage, which they stretched into a nine-point lead after intermission. But the lead changed hands seven times in the after Iowa high point.
“We really thought we’d have a fight, and we definitely got a fight,” Alford said. “All in all, we did some good things. We got some good shots, and when we had to, our defensive stops were really good.”
Iowa leads the series against Drake, 53-7. The Hawkeyes have won 27 straight.
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com