The Iowa men’s basketball team has shot poorly from the field for most of this season, with Wednesday’s game against Purdue no exception.
This time it didn’t matter, though, because the Hawkeyes, who only made 16-of-51 field-goal attempts, made up for it at the free-throw line and on defense.
Iowa made 21-of-29 free-throw attempts and held Purdue to just 36.5 percent shooting from the field en route to a 58-48 victory before an announced crowd of 11,787 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“For us, it was good defense,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said when asked if the game was a case of good defense or bad offense. “And (Purdue) always plays good defense. You knew they were going to play good defense. They make it hard for you to score.
“So yeah, good defense.”
Iowa improved to 18-10 overall and 7-8 in the Big Ten heading into Saturday’s game against top-ranked Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. Purdue, which had won 12 of the previous 13 games against the Hawkeyes fell, to 13-15 overall and 6-9 in the conference.
In addition to shooting poorly from the field, Purdue also committed 16 turnovers, while Iowa only had nine.
“We talked to our guys about not turning the ball over,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “It was us. We simply at times don’t pass and catch or throw direct passes. We have to do a better job of just simply taking care of the ball.”
Iowa hung on to win despite playing without starting point guard Mike Gesell, who missed the game because of an injury to his right foot.
“He should be down a couple weeks,” McCaffery said of Gesell, who had started every game this season.
McCaffery said Gesell’s injury was not a stress fracture, but McCaffery declined to say what the injury was specifically. McCaffery said he expects Gesell to return for the Big Ten Tournament, which will be March 14-17 at the United Center in Chicago.
Sophomore guard Josh Oglesby replaced Gesell in the starting lineup and finished with five points. Oglesby’s only basket of the game — a 3-pointer from the baseline — expanded Iowa’s lead to 52-43 with 1 minute, 42 seconds left to play.
Junior Devyn Marble moved from his usual position of shooting guard to point guard in Gesell’s absence. The 6-foot-6 Marble responded by scoring 18 points and handing out four assists.
“He was great,” McCaffery said of Marble, who started at point guard for Iowa last season. “I think he really enjoys having the ball in his hands. You could tell that he was really comfortable.”
Sophomore center Gabe Olaseni made a basket to expand Iowa’s lead to 15-8 with 12:42 left in the first half. His basket was significant because it was Iowa’s last basket of the first half.
Purdue wasn’t better, though, making just three more baskets from that point on in the first half.
Iowa’s final eight points of the first half came on two free throws by Olaseni and six by sophomore forward Aaron White.
White also had a dunk off a missed shot, but the officials ruled that it came after the clock had expired to end the first half.
Iowa only made 6-of-28 field-goal attempts in the first half but compensated by converting on 9-of-12 free throw attempts.
Purdue made one more basket than Iowa did in the first half, converting on 7-of-23 attempts. However, the difference came at the free-throw line where the Boilermakers were just 2-for-2 in the first half.
“We played phenomenal defense the entire game,” said McCaffery, whose record as the Iowa coach improved to 47-47 with Wednesday’s victory.
White matched Marble with 18 points despite only shooting 3-of-8 from the field. White provided a spark at the free-throw line, making 11-of-14 attempts.
Freshman Donnie Hale led four Purdue players in double figures with 13 points.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball