Hawks Make Good History Beating Indiana

January 24, 2010

Written by Jon Miller

Jon Miller

The Iowa Basketball team did something on Sunday night it had not done since March of 2008; win a Big Ten road game.  The streak stops at 11 as the Hawkeyes knocked off the Indiana Hoosiers58-43 at Assembly Hall.

To be honest, I was a little amazed over the past 10 minutes of the game.  I had forgotten what it felt like to be ahead by double digits on the road late in a Big Ten road game.  Well, Iowa was in that position a few times last year (Penn State, IIRC) but they didn’t hold on to win.

In this game, Iowa got up by 16, it’s largest lead, with under seven minutes to play…and they won by 15.

This group of Hawkeyes, they held on to win.  This group of Hawkeyes, who are not deep and will not be mistaken for Michigan State’s talent level.  I guess I am trying to be kind here and not remind you, or myself, that this is probably Iowa’s ‘worst’ team in my nearly 39 years on the planet.

Just don’t tell that to Jarryd Cole, whose 11 points were great, but his 10 rebounds, eight of them offensive, were immense.  Don’t tell that to Aaron Fuller (13 points), who is starting to learn how to take over games because he is starting to realize that he has a great deal of talent he has yet to harness.  He’s getting really close, and it seems like he knows it.

Don’t tell that to Eric May (9 points) who is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite freshman Hawkeye players.  Don’t mention it to Brennan Cougill (10 points & five boards) or Cully Payne (8 points).  And certainly don’t say that around Matt Gatens, who doesn’t want your pity for being a part of teams that have lost far more than they have won.

Iowa turned the ball over 21 times at Indiana and won by 15.  If you turn the ball over 21 times in any Big Ten game, you are going to lose at least 80 percent of the time.  Unless you are running a style of defense similar to what Dr. Tom Davis employed in his years at Iowa.  I recall Iowa coming back to beat Kansas in the 1990’s having committed over 30 turnovers, snapping a 50+ game home winning streak in Fog Allen Fieldhouse.

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This Iowa team, with this style of play, you are not going to see a win when they commit more than 20 turnovers.

Iowa forced 16 Hoosier turnovers.  They also held Indiana to 16-45 shooting, and the Hoosiers had just three assists.  THREE!  Iowa shot just 22 of 48 and had nine assists, not great numbers by any stretch of the imagination.  Iowa was 5-14 from three for the game, Indiana 0-9.  Iowa had 39 rebounds, Indiana just 23.  But Iowa had 18 offensive rebounds, the highest total for an Iowa team in some time.  That led to a 20-7 second chance points advantage for the Hawkeyes, which was roughly the margin of victory.

Iowa also held a 34-16 advantage in the paint, an area of the floor this team needs to exploit as the season goes along.

I had to check the record books to find the last time Iowa had won a game at Indiana by more than 15 points.  Now, I may have overlooked some games as I scanned the history books, and Iowa has beaten Indiana by 15 points in Bloomington a few times through the years…but the last time they beat Indiana by more than 15 was 1954. The last time they won by 15 was 1970, a year before I was born.

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No, this is not one of Indiana’s best teams, either.  They have been hit hard by injuries and they are trying to rebuild following the Kelvin Sampson debacle.

Yet they will not get any tears from me, or any other Iowa fans.  This was an historic Iowa basketball victory.  The only history I thought this team might set this season would be for futility, but they have won three of four and their lone loss, at Top Ten Michigan State, they trailed by just three points with :17 seconds to play.

They are out manned nearly every time they step on the court and probably will be the rest of the season.  However, they are not quitting on their coach and they are not quitting on each other.

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For one cold winter night, they reminded us how much we care about Iowa basketball…how much we need to care about it and how much joy that it can bring us.

If you didn’t watch it, if you didn’t get a chance to watch Iowa control a late double digit lead in Assembly Hall, then you missed out.

Iowa returns home this week to host Ohio State, a very good team with the best player in the league in Evan Turner.  The Iowa football team will be recognized at halftime, along with Adrian Clayborn.   You can bring your kids to get Orange Bowl posters autographed.  If you are a member of the Iowa faculty, you get in for a reduced rate.  If you are a student, you get in for free.

You may want to show up, because I am no longer certain what to expect from this Iowa team…I couldn’t say that a few weeks ago.  Then, I was certain we’d see a team struggle and likely get beat.

Perhaps hope is making a bit of a comeback in the minds of the Iowa fanbase, and that’s a start.

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