Feb. 4, 2009
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by Sean Neugent
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — University of Iowa men’s basketball coach Todd Lickliter saw his squad out of the game early after a whirlwind of fouls and turnovers, but the Hawkeyes battled back before falling 68-60 to Indiana on Wednesday inside Assembly Hall.
The Hawkeyes were behind by 20 points in the second half but freshman Matt Gatens and sophomore Jeff Peterson helped them claw their way back. Iowa came as close as three late in the game, but two late turnovers helped Indiana secure victory.
“I told the team that I don’t think you learn how to win by winning,” Lickliter said. “I think you can really learn how to win by getting fed up with losing and doing something about it. We are at a point where some guys are going to have to make a decision that they are going to do something.”
Iowa was 20 of 48 (42 percent) from the field, 6 of 20 (30 percent) and 14 of 21 (67 percent) from the free throw line. Indiana was 23 of 47 (49 percent) from the floor, 7 of 13 (54 percent), and 15 of 25 (60 percent) from the charity stripe. The Hawkeyes lost the handle on 14 balls, while the Hoosiers had 11 turnovers. The 14 turnovers led to 20 points off turnovers for Indiana.
“There are a lot of things that contribute to winning that really aren’t skill-driven,” Lickliter said. “It is almost like a mindset and we are really struggling with that. Strength has been an issue for us and it isn’t like we’re weak, we just don’t have Big Ten strength. The stronger you are, the more confidence you have, the more contact you take and so on. We made a huge mistake in not committing more time to the weight room and to strength development and we’re paying for it. Hopefully we can get that rectified.”
The Hawkeyes (12-11 overall, 2-8 Big Ten Conference) were led by Gatens who caught fire in the second half and drilled Indiana for 21 of his 22 points during the final 20 minutes. Peterson was the other Hawkeye to score double-figures with 12. Peterson and sophomore Jake Kelly led Iowa in assists with five apiece. Sophomore Jarryd Cole led the Hawkeyes in rebounding with six — five of which came offensively. Indiana (6-15, 1-8) was led by Devan Dumes who had 27 points on 8 of 9 shooting, 5 of 5 from three-point land and 6 of 8 in free throws.
“There are a lot of things that contribute to winning that really aren’t skill-driven. It is almost like a mindset and we are really struggling with that. Strength has been an issue for us and it isn’t like we’re weak, we just don’t have Big Ten strength. The stronger you are, the more confidence you have, the more contact you take and so on. We made a huge mistake in not committing more time to the weight room and to strength development and we’re paying for it. Hopefully we can get that rectified.”
UI head coach
Indiana notched the first points of the contest with a trifecta from Dumes on the first possession. On the Hawkeye’s first possession, they missed a field goal attempt, but hurried back on defense where Peterson stole a pass for a fastbreak assist underneath to junior Jermain Davis. Iowa took its first lead when Peterson drained a three-ball for a 7-5 advantage with 16:52 to play in the half.
Indiana took a 9-8 lead, but the Hawkeyes stole it right back when Kelly drove the lane and finished with a finger-roll for a 10-9 lead. The score continued to go back and forth as neither team could get the ball rolling on the offensive end.
The Hawkeyes had a chance to tie the game and pushed it down low to Cole who dunked, but the ball rattled in and out. The Hoosiers pushed it up court and Dumes was fouled to give Indiana a 19-16 edge after a made free throw. Indiana went on a 10-2 run to take a 25-18 advantage. Dumes extended the lead when he made a deep three to give Indiana a 28-20 advantage.
Fouls and turnovers plagued Iowa at the end of the first half. The Hawkeyes were hit with several fouls as Davis was slapped with three personal fouls in the first half. More fouls mounted and three straight trips to the charity stripe allowed Indiana to take a 33-20 lead. The Hoosiers took the 13-point lead into the locker room. The Hawkeyes had seven turnovers and 12 team fouls going into the break. The fouls led to 10 free throws for Indiana.
“I think it has a lot to do with we didn’t get the rebounds,” Gatens said. “They wanted the ball more than we did — loose ball or rebounds. We turned the ball over and whenever you turn the ball over, it is going to lead to bad things.”
A rejuvenated Hawkeye team took the court and was able to grab a few offensive boards on their first possession and hit the first points of the second half. The Hawkeyes continued to be plagued with foul problems when Kelly was called for two in the beginning of the second half for his fourth of the game. Iowa was not the only team with foul problems as the Hoosiers had several of their own.
It did not get any easier for the Hawkeyes when Malik Story hit a trey for a 40-24 lead with 16:15 left in the game.
Iowa went ice cold from the field and the Hoosiers took advantage and put the Hawkeyes in a 20-point hole. Iowa kept fighting and finally broke through for only its second trey of the game coming from Gatens. Gatens had a quiet first half but was able to heat up and hit two from deep to cut Indiana’s lead to 53-39. A minute later Gatens was fouled and hit both of his free throws to put Iowa back in contention with 8:19 remaining. Gatens quietly took over after being held to one point in the first half and scorched Indiana for 21 second half points.
“He (Gatens) was anxious in the first half,” Lickliter said. “He had some really good looks that didn’t go in the first half. We talked about scoring droughts — it isn’t that we’re not getting shots it’s that we are not making shots. Dumes was ridiculous, that is your shooter. We have guys that we recruited to shoot the ball. To be honest, if anyone would have said what Matt’s strengths are coming into this year, three-point shooting would not be the first thing mentioned. We knew he was capable, but he far exceeded what anyone thought and that is a good thing, I am proud of him for that.”
Peterson cut it to 53-44 after he hit a short-range jumper before being fouled and hit the latter free throw. That helped the Hawkeyes cap a 15-4 run during the comeback attempt.
“We came out with a little more competitive spirit and wanted to get the ball,” Gatens said. “We did obviously hit a few more shots in the second half compared to the first half. We definitely did play a better second half but it wasn’t good enough and we need to play a full game not just a half a game in order to beat these teams.”
Indiana misfired on a three-point attempt and the Hawkeyes hurried up court and hit a wide-open Devan Bawinkel who nailed a long range jumper to trail 59-53. A few free throws later the Hawkeyes saw themselves down by only three, but Dumes drilled a three on Indiana’s next possession. Peterson again helped Iowa climb back in it after he drove the lane for a layup and Iowa trailed by three. A few hurried turnovers by the Hawkeyes as time wound down sealed their fate.
“We have to put the two halves together,” Gatens said. “We need to come out with more energy. It’s frustrating but at the same time we just have to give effort tomorrow and prepare for the next team and go get it. It’s not fun losing and the sooner we understand that we want to win a little more, it will start happening. We need to start with our next game.”
Iowa returns home Saturday in a matchup against Northwestern with a 5:05 p.m. tipoff.