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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jarrod Uthoff knew no one would be expecting what was coming from Iowa in the second half.

The Hawkeyes were down 17 at halftime against 14th-ranked Purdue after their lowest scoring output in a half this season, looking out of sorts against a smothering defense.

So Uthoff, the fifth-year senior forward who had all but four of Iowa’s first-half points, made sure his teammates knew what they could do.

“I told the guys at halftime, we’re the only ones in the locker room who believe we can win this game,” Uthoff said. “Down 17 at Purdue, ranked 14th or whatever they are. Purdue is a tough place to play. We’re the only ones in that locker room that believe we could win this game.

“To everyone’s credit, we came out and actually did what we preached.”

It was a sermon of comeback, of victory. Iowa rallied in the second half for a 70-63 win over the Boilermakers at Mackey Arena.

It was the first win for an Iowa team here since 2006. It was the second time this week the Hawkeyes had defeated a ranked team — they rolled over top-ranked Michigan State 83-70 on Tuesday night.

It was the second largest comeback for an Iowa team in a Big Ten game since 1987 when the Hawkeyes posted a 22-point comeback against Illinois in overtime.

And now, Iowa is 2-0 in the Big Ten, 11-3 overall and likely headed for a spot in the national rankings this week.

The deficit that looked so daunting to everyone else — Iowa was down 19 in the first half and 17 with 18:09 to play in the game — wasn’t something that really bothered the Hawkeyes.

“It just challenged our character,” said senior Anthony Clemmons, who had another solid defensive performance with four steals in the game to go with his eight second-half points. “We all came together, decided to play basketball.”

Walk-on forward Nicholas Baer, who had a big second-half 3-pointer that broke a 48-48 tie, said Saturday’s win was a testament to the character of the program.

“Our seniors did a great job of bringing us back. You’re not going to come back from 17 (down) in 30 seconds. Every possession you need a stop and score. And we did that,” he said.

The Hawkeyes shook the Boilermakers (13-2, 1-1), who were the defensive aggressors in the first half as they built their 37-20 lead. Purdue had 10 turnovers in the second half and made just 8-of-26 shots.

“You’ve got a lead, but why did you have a lead?” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “Everything wasn’t that pretty in the first half for us, but we defended and we took care of the basketball. In the second half, we didn’t do those things.”

The Hawkeyes had one stretch in the second half where they had 10 consecutive stops, another in which they had seven.

“We got into them, started pressuring them, and I think that got them a little sideways,” Uthoff said.

Iowa went on a 23-4 run over a 101/2-minute stretch to take a 48-46 lead with 7:32 left in the game, their first lead since early in the first half. And when Baer hit his 3-pointer with 6:30 to play, the Hawkeyes would not trail again.

Iowa was 18-of-28 from the field in the second half, after just a 7-of-30 first-half performance.

“In the first half, some of the guys looked like they were scared, because of the environment and stuff,” Jok said. “At halftime, we regrouped, and just focused on defense.”

“The stops we got, we just ran down and got easy baskets.”

The Hawkeyes scored the first six points of the game, then couldn’t keep any sort of offensive momentum after Adam Woodbury’s missed dunk ignited a sellout crowd that only got louder when Vince Edwards got Purdue’s first points on a 3-pointer.

Purdue had a 16-0 run over a stretch of 5 minutes, 24 seconds midway through the first half.

“They were on a run,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “After that, I thought they really moved the ball well.”

Purdue made 7-of-14 3-pointers in the first half, including 3s by Dakota Mathias and Kendall Stephens on three consecutive possessions that snapped a 13-13 tie.

“The 3s they got were in rhythm,” McCaffery said. “We were so locked into the post — this team has great post players and they’re going to win a lot of games with their post play — but they have really good perimeter players as well.”

“You’ve got to make sure to guard both. If not, they’re going to burn you.”

Sixteen of Iowa’s first-half points came from Uthoff, who finished with 25 points. But the Hawkeyes got more production from others in the second half — 13 bench points compared to zero in the first half.

Iowa hosts Nebraska on Tuesday — no time, they said, to celebrate the big week.

“This, as you know, is a difficult place to win,” McCaffery said. “So that’s why I think I’m so happy for our guys to play well, get over the hump, get a win here. This is a top-10, top-15 team, and they’ll be that all year. To beat them on the road is something that will help our confidence moving forward.”

IOWA (70)

 

MIN

FG

3P

FT

RB

A

TO

TP

Woodbury

25

3-7

0-0

0-0

7

0

2

6

Uthoff

38

7-16

1-36

10-14

4

2

0

25

Clemmons

30

3-9

2-4

0-0

1

3

1

8

Gesell

33

2-5

1-2

2-4

7

7

1

7

Jok

32

5-13

0-6

1-2

9

2

0

11

Uhl

15

2-5

2-3

0-0

0

0

0

6

Baer

16

3-3

1-1

0-0

4

0

2

7

Wagner

3

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

1

0

Ellingson

8

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

1

0

Team

    

5

   

Totals

200

25-58

7-19

13-20

37

14

9

70

PURDUE (63)

 

MIN

FG

3P

FT

RB

A

TO

TP

Haas

15

3-4

0-0

0-0

6

0

1

6

Edwards

20

2-3

1-1

2-2

5

3

1

7

Swanigan

22

3-10

0-0

0-2

5

2

3

6

Thompson

23

0-4

0-2

1-2

4

3

2

1

Davis

28

1-7

1-5

1-2

1

0

4

4

Hammons

25

5-6

0-0

1-2

7

2

1

11

Cline

7

1-2

1-2

0-0

0

1

0

3

Stephens

13

4-9

2-6

2-3

0

1

0

12

Hill

17

1-6

0-1

2-2

2

2

0

4

Mathias

30

3-8

3-8

0-0

5

3

2

9

Team

    

3

   

Totals

200

23-59

8-25

9-15

38

17

14

63

Halftime—Purdue 37-20. Team fouls—Iowa 16, Purdue 18. Attendance—14,846.

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