IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa men’s basketball team capped the third-largest comeback in school history on Thursday night with a, 91-89, win over Indiana on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa overcame a 21-point deficit to pick up its first Big Ten Conference victory of the season.
Junior Kris Murray matched Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis as the game’s leading-scorer with 30 points, his second consecutive 30-point scoring game and fourth-such effort on the season. Murray also posted a double-double with 10 rebounds, two steals and one block to seal the game against the Hoosiers.
The Hawkeyes trailed by as much as 21 in the first half, but a three from redshirt senior Connor McCaffery propelled Iowa to an 11-0 run over the next two minutes to bring the deficit back to single digits.
Following an Indiana technical foul with 2:30 left in the first half, junior Tony Perkins downed two free throws and a jumper to cut the lead once again to single digits. Following an and-one bucket down low from fifth-year Filip Rebraca, the Hawkeyes trailed just 45-40 with one minute remaining in the half.
A pair of Indiana scores would extend the gap back to 50-40 at the break, with the Hoosiers headed into the locker room shooting 66 percent (19-of-29) from the floor.
The second half saw five ties and five lead changes, the first of which came on a Murray 3-pointer to draw the game even, followed up by a Rebraca and-one conversion on the following possession to put the Hawkeyes up, 64-61, with 11:35 to play.
— Iowa Men’s Basketball (@IowaHoops) January 6, 2023
The lead changed hands multiple times over the ensuing nine minutes, with Indiana claiming an 84-79 advantage with 3:29 remaining.
With under just three minutes remaining, Murray notched Iowa’s final field goal of the game on a driving fastbreak layup to cut the gap to two.
Following an Iowa defensive stand, Rebraca and McCaffery combined for 4-of-4 on one-and-one free throw opportunities to shift the deficit to an 86-84 Hawkeye lead with just over two minutes left on the clock.
Iowa finished shooting 22-of-25 (88 percent) from the free throw line in what down the stretch became a duel at the charity stripe.
The Hoosiers got the ball trailing by one point with 53 seconds remaining, but the possession ended with a Murray block to retake the ball and a three-point lead with a pair of free throws on the other end.
Up two with three seconds remaining, Murray broke free on an in-bounds heave and hurled the ball toward the rafters to put away the historic comeback.
Tonight's win marks the third-largest comeback (21 pts) in program history.
— Iowa Men’s Basketball (@IowaHoops) January 6, 2023
Murray has recorded at least 29 points and nine rebounds in each of his last three appearances. Rebraca joined him with a double-double of his own on 19 points, ten boards, two assists and a block.
Rebraca was one of three Hawkeyes to finish with at least five free throws (5-of-6), four of which came in second-half crunch time.
McCaffery closed out with 16 points, including team-best 6-of-6 shooting from the free throw line. Perkins (10 points) and sophomore Payton Sandfort (11 points) also finished with double-figures scoring for the Hawkeyes.
Indiana posted a 66 percent (19-of-29) total in the first half, including 5-of-7 (.714) scoring from behind the arc. In the second half, the Hawkeye defense held the Hoosiers to 43 percent (13-of-30) shooting while posting a 54 percent (15-of-28) scoring effort on the other end.
Iowa outrebounded the Hoosiers, 37-32, including a 13-9 advantage on the offensive glass and 23-12 difference in the final 20 minutes.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“I think it says a lot about the character of our team because you guys have all seen a lot of games over the years, the biggest mistake teams make in a situation like that, you always hear us say, don’t try to get it back all at once. What does that mean? You start quick shooting the ball, you start taking an inordinate amount of threes and then now they’re running it back and they’re dunking the ball and all of a sudden 21 becomes 31 and you have no shot. We just tried to press them a little, be active in our zone, and execute our offense the way we planned, because early on we couldn’t get anything to drop. We had a couple good looks, they didn’t go, and they were capitalizing. I was just really pleased with our composure at that point…
[Leadership] is really important because we had to play a lot of young guys tonight, too. What can you say about Payton Sandfort; he was phenomenal. Josh Dix was phenomenal. And Dasonte [Bowen] was really good in the first half. Ulis was solid as always. I thought when they’re in there, at crunch time, your young guys, they have to execute. I thought that last timeout, they called the wrong play. That was on me. We only had four seconds, and I was trying to run a quick hit, didn’t work. But again, we didn’t panic.
I said this to the team, we had probably the best defensive possession of the whole game, and they shoot a shot that barely hits the backboard, it bounces, the kid, he lays it in with half a second to go up six. I think a lot of teams would have quit right there and they did not. That says a lot about our team. But those guys [Filip Rebraca, Connor McCaffery and Kris Murray] they’re the heart and soul of the team.”
- Iowa erased a 21-point first-half deficit to come back and win, posting its third-largest comeback in school history (23-point comeback versus Gardner-Webb on Nov. 17, 2012; 22-point comeback at Illinois on Jan. 14, 1987).
- Iowa improved to 2-0 against ranked opponents at home (No. 20 Iowa State).
- Iowa extended its win streak to three over the Hoosiers, dating back to last season. Iowa has won 11 of the last 16 meetings against Indiana in Iowa City.
- Junior Kris Murray, who this week was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, netted a team-best 30 points and cleared 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Murray played all 40 minutes for the second straight game (Penn State). He has scored 30+ points four times this season, including back-to-back games, and has reached 20 points in six of 11 games played this season.
- Senior Filip Rebraca tallied 19 points tonight, scoring 15+ points in four of Iowa’s last five contests. He also grabbed 10 rebounds to register his fifth double-double of the season and 24th of his career.
- Iowa snapped a four-game losing streak, dating back to Dec. 21.
- After trailing by as many as 21 points in the first half (28-7), Iowa took its first lead with 11:35 remaining in the second half.
- Today was the 40th anniversary of the first Iowa men’s basketball game played inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Jan. 5, 1983).
- Juniors Patrick McCaffery and Josh Ogundele did not play in tonight’s game for Iowa.
Iowa (9-6, 1-3) will next play at Rutgers (11-4, 3-1) on Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for 11:01 a.m. (CT) in Piscataway, New Jersey.