By Pete Ruden
The issues at the scorer’s table at Carver-Hawkeye in the opening minutes could have been a sign on Feb. 17. The stop-and-go action was hard to watch, much like Iowa’s offense and defense in recent days.
On Feb. 17, it proved to be true again, as Indiana beat the Hawkeyes, 84-82, after Iowa gave up a 3-point halftime lead.
After falling down 13 in the second half, Iowa fought back and made it a game. The Hawkeyes were down by 2 in the final 10 seconds, so they turned to Jordan Bohannon, who gave the Hawkeyes life when they were facing the deficit by hitting back-to-back 3s.
Bohannon’s shot clanked off the rim, and Tyler Cook grabbed the board to give Iowa another chance, but he couldn’t convert.
“Jordan missed the shot and we got the rebound,” Cook said. “I wasn’t sure how much time was left, so I tried to get it on the rim, and I failed to do so.”
In the first half, though, Iowa’s offense was incredible. The Hawkeyes started 10-of-10 from the field with three of those makes coming from deep.
Iowa’s offense seemed to be clicking on all cylinders, as point guard Bohannon had 6 assists in the first nine minutes, despite not hitting a shot.
A big part of the offense’s success was Iowa’s frontcourt. The duo of Cook and Luka Garza put up 15 and 11 points, respectively in the first, before making it 28 and 17 by the end of the game.
“It was great,” Garza said. “We were moving the ball, and we were doing a great job on offense, and our defense was pretty good, but it wasn’t as great as our offense.”
The Hawkeyes closed the half shooting 71 percent, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Hoosiers.
Indiana eventually took the lead and stretched it to double digits by scoring 30 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The Hoosiers did their damage from deep, hitting seven 3-pointers in that span.
That’s when Indiana guard Robert Johnson took over. Johnson hit four of his shots from behind the arc in that stretch and finished with a career-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting, netting nine of his 12 shots from 3-point range.
His nine treys tied a Carver-Hawkeye record for 3-pointers in a game (former Hawkeye Chris Kingsbury).
Devonte Green complemented Johnson in an impressive way, hitting four 3s of his own on his way to scoring 18.
The Hoosiers closed the game as cold-blooded shooters from deep, going 14-of-24 and scoring half of their total points on jumpers from behind the arc.
“If there was any disappointment, it was the run they made in the second half more so than anything that happened in the first half,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “Our closeouts were not effective enough. It’s pretty obvious who was hitting shots. It’s two guys … You’re going to close out differently on them than you are anybody else, and for some reason, we did not ever figure out that you can’t stop short.”
The loss marks Iowa’s fifth in a row, which is different for this team, considering most of the key contributors who played last year only had a four-game skid as their longest losing streak.
“A lot of tough losses are coming, and no one has really lost like this before,” Garza said. “Everyone in their high-school careers, and even last year, we haven’t been losing like this, so it’s different. But we’ve got a lot of strong and strong-minded guys in there who are going to work and keep working and try to make a run.”
Iowa forward Tyler Cook and Indiana guard Robert Johnson embrace at the end of a basketball game between the University of Iowa and Indiana University at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. Cook finished with 28 points, Johnson led all scorers with 29 and the Hoosiers defeated the Hawkeyes 84 to 82. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)