March 3, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A big second half sent the University of Iowa men’s basketball team to a 77-63 road victory at Indiana and win No. 20 on Tuesday night inside Assembly Hall.
The Hawkeyes won for the fifth-straight time in league play for the first time since 1996-97 and for the fourth time in 10 days to improve their record to 20-10 overall and 11-6 in Big Ten play; the Hoosiers fall to 19-11, 9-8. Iowa is 7-3 in true road games, the most since the 1986-87 season.
“This says a lot about our maturity and professionalism,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “It takes a lot to go on the road and win.”
Iowa did more than just win, it cruised to a double-digit victory in a hostile road environment. The Hawkeyes shot 46.3 percent from the floor, making 25-of-54 field goal attempts and held the Hoosiers to 38.3 (23-of-60) percent shooting with sound team defense.
“We knew they were quicker than us at every position so the key was team defense and stopping their transition game,” said senior Aaron White. “Our defense fuels our offense and gets our transition game going. We have multiple guys stepping up in key parts of the game.”
White was again the best player on the floor, leading all scorers with 21 points — his third-straight 20-point output — making 6-of-13 field goals and 9-of-10 free throws. Junior Jarrod Uthoff scored an efficient 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting to go along with six rebounds.
The Hawkeyes got key production from its bench with senior Gabriel Olaseni scoring 13 points and grabbing eight rebounds, and senior Anthony Clemmons scoring 10 points — all in the second half — and tallying three assists.
Indiana trimmed a 32-28 halftime lead to one on a James Blackmon, Jr., 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half before Iowa reeled off eight straight points and 12-of-14 to push its lead to 44-33 with 13:54 remaining.
The Hoosiers clawed their way back to within 46-40 with 12:41 remaining and a Nick Zeisloft 3-pointer cut the lead to 48-43 with 11:20 left, but each time Indiana made a run, a different Hawkeye had an answer.
Clemmons was the first to step up, drilling a 3-ball from the left wing to push the lead to 51-43, and White followed with two free throws to make the score 53-43 with 9:10 left.
Sophomore Peter Jok then provided an answer to a Blackmon, Jr., 3-pointer at the 8:08 mark before hitting a second one with 6:43 remaining to stretch Iowa’s lead to 59-48. Iowa pushed its lead to 14 points on two Clemmons free throws with 5 1/2 minutes to play and led by as many as 16 down the stretch.
“It was a bunch of different guys (making plays) and that’s hard to guard against,” said White. “We have a lot of guys that are making the small plays, and that’s what you have to do to win.”
Zeisloft made 5-of-7 3-point field goals en route to 15 points to lead the Hoosiers in scoring. Blackmon, Jr., scored 14 points, and guard Yogi Ferrell added 11 on 3-for-11 shooting.
Indiana connected on two of its three first half 3-pointers over the first 4:15 to jump out to the 10-6 lead and a second Zeisloft 3-ball gave the Hoosiers a 13-10 lead with 13:47 remaining in the first half.
With the score knotted at 19 with nine minutes left in the first half, back-to-back Adam Woodbury field goals gave the Hawkeyes a 23-20 advantage. The Hoosiers grabbed a 24-23 lead with 5:59 left in the half on a Hanner Mosquera-Perea layup, but Iowa’s defense forced a 5:58 field goal drought.
Iowa scored nine of the final 13 points of the first half before Indiana’s Robert Johnson drained a jumper at the buzzer to make the score 32-28 at the break.
The Hawkeyes close out the regular season Saturday, hosting Northwestern at 11:06 a.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court. Senior Day festivities will be held prior to the opening tipoff to honor Kyle Denning, Josh Oglesby, White, and Olaseni.