Feb. 11, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
BLOOMINGTON, Indiana — The No. 4/5 University of Iowa men’s basketball team dropped into a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten Conference standings, falling 85-78 at Indiana on Thursday night in sold out Assembly Hall.
“You can’t beat a team on the road of this caliber and execute in certain situations like we did,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “They’re going to make you pay and they did.”
Iowa falls to 19-5 overall and 10-2 in the league, tied with Maryland and Indiana atop the standings. The Hoosiers are 20-5 overall.
Trailing 45-38 at the break, the Hawkeyes opened the second half on a 9-0 run to take a 47-45 lead. Iowa led 60-56 with 9:35 remaining before Indiana surged, using a 14-2 run to take control. Yogi Ferrell’s 3-pointer at the 6:24 mark made the score 70-62 with 6:24 remaining.
The Hoosiers pushed their lead to nine points twice, including a 77-68 advantage with 3:09 to play. Iowa closed the gap to 77-72 on an Adam Woodbury layup with 1:15 remaining before Troy Williams hit a back-breaker, splitting two defenders and hitting a jumper to push the lead to 79-72 with 44 seconds left.
Iowa managed to close to within a single possession (79-76) on a pair of Mike Gesell free throws with 22 ticks remaining, but Indiana beat the Hawkeye full-court pressure, and Collin Hartman’s dunk pushed the lead to five with 13 seconds to go.
Both teams finished with an identical field goal percentage, making 29-of-63 attempts for 46 percent. Indiana made two more 3 pointers (9-of-25 to 7-of-18) and shot nearly 30 percent better at the free throw stripe. The Hawkeyes went 13-of-23 at the free throw line; Indiana was 18-of-21.
“I don’t think our defense was as good as it could have been, but I would commend their offense,” said McCaffery.
The Hoosiers edged Iowa on the glass, 39-35, and the big difference in the game was the reserves. Indiana’s bench blanked its Iowa counterparts, 28-0.
“It was uncharacteristic of those guys, but in fairness, I rode the starters more than I usually do,” said McCaffery. “We had a couple of opportunities, but they took only four shots.”
All five Hawkeye starters reached double figures with senior Jarrod Uthoff leading the way with 24 points on 8-of-20 shooting. He went 6-of-8 from the free throw line and grabbed five rebounds.
Gesell scored 17 points, making 6-of-9 field goals, and had six assists and Woodbury posted a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds — his seventh of the season and fifth in eight games. Junior Peter Jok and Anthony Clemmons had 12 points apiece. Clemmons also had five assists.
Indiana shot its way to a 16 point lead in the first half, taking advantage of seven 3-point field goals, and a 21-11 rebounding advantage. The Hoosiers had 12 offensive rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, which they turned into 17 second-chance points; Iowa had 11 total rebounds.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from reserves Nick Zeisloft and Hartman pushed Indiana’s lead to 36-20 with 6:03 remaining in the opening half. Jok shot the Hawkeyes back into the game with consecutive 3-point field goals to cut the lead to single digits and Iowa closed the gap to 43-38. The score was 45-38 at the break.
“We responded like I hoped we would and executed in that stretch much better than we did the rest of the game,” said McCaffery. “Our execution wasn’t what it has been. You can’t beat a team of this caliber unless you’re executing better.”
Ferrell led a group of five Hoosiers in double figures with 14 points, despite going just 2-of-12 from the floor.
The Hawkeyes return to action Sunday, hosting winless Minnesota (6-18, 0-12) on Mediacom Court at 6:30 p.m. (CT).