After two confidence-building conference wins, Indiana entered Sunday’s game at Assembly Hall with Iowa with an opportunity to move above .500 and into a tie for third place in the conference.
But when the dust settled, the Hoosiers (9-10, 3-4 Big Ten) looked nothing like the team that had just knocked off Minnesota in overtime or the team that won its first road game at Penn State on Thursday.
The result? A head-scratching 58-43 loss to Iowa.
“We didn’t have the same toughness level as Iowa had,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “And that’s the bottom line. There was a 15-round fight that every Big Ten game is and we decided we weren’t going to be in that fight.”
From the outset, Indiana’s effort, particularly on the glass, left plenty to be desired. The Hoosiers allowed the Hawkeyes (8-12, 2-5) to grab 18 offensive rebounds and score 20 second-chance points. In all, Indiana was beaten badly on the boards, 39-23.
“That was one of the softest low-post performances I’ve ever been apart of,” Crean said. “And I apologize to our fans. I apologize to everybody that made a great attempt to be here based on the fact that the Colts were playing. That’s not who we’re gonna be.”
After trailing 28-19 at halftime, Indiana opened the half on a 12-5 run and got within two at 33-31 with 13:23 remaining. Iowa responded with a 7-0 run of its own and the Hoosiers never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
Aaron Fuller led three Hawkeyes in double figures with 13 points. Jarryd Cole added 11 points and 10 rebounds and Brennan Cougill had 10.
For Indiana, Verdell Jones led the way with 14 points, but pulled down just one rebound. IU’s three starting guards combined for a total of just two rebounds in 87 minutes.
No points from behind the arc: For the first time since facing Wisconsin in the 2001 Big Ten Tournament, Indiana failed to make a 3-pointer. The Hoosiers finished 0-for-9.
Assist-to-turnover ratio not pretty: Indiana committed 16 turnovers and had a season-low three assists. Crean attributed that to screening, or a lack thereof. “Our screening was atrocious. That’s what that is more than anything else.”
Jeremiah Rivers postgame comments:
Filed to: Iowa Hawkeyes