Iowa MBB: Hawkeyes Stun Purdue 83–78 In Iowa City

The Iowa Hawkeyes played perhaps their best and most complete game of the season, downing the #17/#19 Purdue Boilermakers 83–78 in a hard-fought contest from beginning to end. Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery said after the game that his young team played like a group of veterans — especially in Second Half crunch-time, learning from their December 28th 89–67 loss at Purdue. The win is arguably the biggest for Iowa so far this season and was well-deserved, based on its all-around play. Iowa also overcame of nine-point halftime deficit to pull out the victory.

The Boilermakers’ physicality, especially the big men, has been impressive all year. But the Hawkeyes were not intimidated and took the ball inside from the outset. The result: Iowa finished with 40 points in the paint to the Boilers 20; and Iowa out-rebounded Purdue 35–28.

Purdue’s two bigs: 7’2” Isaac Haas and 6’9” Caleb Swanigan combined weigh nearly 600 pounts. Compare that to Iowa’s big men: Cordell Pemsl at 6’8”, 249 pounds, Tyler Cook at 6’9”, 253, and Ryan Kriener at 6’9”, 247 — then there’s “little” Nick Baer at 6’7”, 205. Yet from nearly start to finish the Hawkeyes used hustle and grit to lead their team to victory.

McCaffery credited Iowa’s aggressive defense — which he changed up more in the Second Half — for disrupting Purdue’s rythmn. Iowa also shot an impressive 68% from the field in the second period. Purdue started out hot, but over the course of the game tailed off — shooting 56% in the First Half, then dropped to 32% in the second. Amazingly, Iowa was able to pull off the upset despite shooting only 9–18 from the free throw line — while the Boilermakers converted 21–25. Purdue also hit 11–28 three point shots while Iowa was just 6–14.

Iowa had another great game from Senior Peter Jok, who finished with 29 points, six rebounds, and eight assists — McCaffery termed his play as “really special tonight” — and he got no argument from Purdue Head Coach Matt Painter. But there were plenty of gold starts to hand out all around. Freshman Jordan Bohannon totaled 12 points but had nine assists and hit several huge baskets down the stretch. Freshman Tyler Cook played aggressive defense and also tallied 16 points. Freshman Cordell Pemsl displayed some dazzling moves early and, while only scoring four points, he had eight boards and hung with Purdue’s bigs body blow for body blow. Nicholas Baer played outstanding defense throughout the game. And Freshman Ryan Kriener came off the bench last in the Second Half to score six huge points in quality time.

Painter said in his post-game press conference that his team got the shots they wanted late in the game but they just didn’t convert and failed to get the necessary stops down the stretch. He praised Jok’s and Bohannon’s play in particular. He agreed with McCaffery that Iowa’s defensive change-ups in the Second Half and especially its zone ultimately made the difference in the game.

Iowa improves to 11–7, 3–2 and goes on the road to Evanston to play Northwestern Sunday at 6:30 PM. Purdue drops to 14–4, 3–2 and will next host Illinois on January 17.

Post-Game Notes from Iowa Athletic Communications:

· Iowa defeated №17/19 Purdue 83–78 on Thursday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena

· Tonight’s game featured 12 ties and 20 lead changes.

· Iowa’s last four games have been decided by six points or less.

· Peter Jok netted a game-best 29 points topping the 20-point plateau for the 10th time this season and 21st time in his career. Jok also was credited with a career-high eight assists.

· Jordan Bohannon with a personal-best nine assists to go along with 12 points. The Hawkeye freshman has totaled 17 assists the last two games.

· Tyler Cook with 16 points tonight, the most by the Hawkeye freshman since scoring 17 versus Memphis on Nov. 26.

· Iowa improves to 4–1 in the last five games against ranked opponents in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

· Iowa returns to action on Sunday when the Hawkeyes play at Northwestern. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (CT) at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Illinois.

Final game and individual stats are below.

By John Patchett — Posted 01/12/17

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