Nothing free for the Hawkeyes but the throws

Jan. 21, 2009

IOWA CITY, Iowa — There are no handouts during the Big Ten Conference men’s basketball season, but the University of Iowa cashed in on some freebies — as in free throws — to defeat Wisconsin 73-69 on Wednesday night inside a raucous Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hawkeyes (12-7 overall, 2-4 Big Ten Conference) cashed in on 5 of 6 free throws in overtime and outscored Wisconsin (12-6, 3-3) 13-9 during the extra 5-minute frame to snap a three-game league losing skid.

Some of the first words out of Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan’s mouth in the postgame interview were “free throws.”

“Getting to the line,” Ryan said. “Free throws were pretty obvious.”

UI freshman Matt Gatens, who is now shooting 91.1-percent from the foul line, made all four free throws in overtime. Sophomore Jeff Peterson, an 85.3-percent shooter, was 1 of 2. Those five charity tosses were the icing on the cake. Iowa reached the bonus with 9:04 left in regulation and closed the second half by making 15 of 19 attempts. Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, second-attempt misfires by Gatens with 17 seconds left (with Iowa leading 59-55) and by Peterson with seven seconds left (with Iowa leading 60-57) gave the Badgers a final chance and Jordan Taylor sank a deep three-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime, 60-60.

For the game, Iowa made 26 of 35 foul shots. Gatens and Peterson were both 9 of 12, Kelly was 5 of 6 and Palmer was 3 of 5. The Badgers were 8 of 10 from the line.

“I think our guys were aggressive and under control,” UI head coach Todd Lickliter said. “I’d like to say I’m the free throw coach, but I’d be lying. You don’t get lucky. Our guys shoot free throws every day.”

On the season, the Hawkeyes are shooting 74.6-percent from the line (241 of 323).