Iowa coach Fran McCaffery says his team got confused on switches at Purdue. Hear why that was problematic: Hawk Central
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The calendar has turned to 2019, but this sure looks like the same Iowa defense as the previous two years.
Purdue, a team that excels on the perimeter, decided to attack the soft underbelly of the Hawkeye defense again and again Thursday, blowing the game open late in the first half and cruising to an 86-70 victory before an announced crowd of 13,701 at Mackey Arena.
The Boilermakers (9-5, 2-1 Big Ten Conference) scored 42 points in the paint and made 53 percent of their shots while building a 26-point lead. Junior guard Carsen Edwards, as usual, was the star of the show, needing only 28 minutes to score 21 points. His end-to-end layup against three Hawkeyes in the final seconds of the first half should be the only highlight you need to watch to get an understanding of this game.
“They’re not necessarily a team that pounds it inside, but they got a lot of looks at the rim, some late-shot-clock looks,” Iowa forward Tyler Cook said. “And that layup at the end of the half was kind of a back-breaker.”
Cook was on the bench for that bit of derring-do from Edwards, planted there after picking up a second foul with just under 3 minutes until intermission. Purdue went on a 6-0 run to close the half ahead 52-35. The second half was essentially immaterial.
It was only the second road game of the season for No. 21 Iowa (11-3, 0-3 Big Ten Conference). It followed the same script as a 22-point loss at Michigan State exactly one month before. And the same script as every Big Ten road game a year ago, when the Hawkeyes finished 4-14 in league play.
The Hawkeyes have trailed by 17 points or more in each of their last 11 Big Ten games away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I thought we were ready to go. We had a really good scouting report,” Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon said. “But they were just making a lot of good reads and we just weren’t reacting.”
Cook scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half to lead all scorers. Isaiah Moss, who had the primary defensive assignment on Edwards, finished with 13 points. Ryan Kriener came off the bench to put up 10 points, but none of the other three Iowa reserves who played scored.
Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon says the scouting report for Purdue was good. So why did things go south? Listen in: Hawk Central
Purdue’s 7-foot-3 center, Matt Haarms, scored 14 points, making all six of his free throws as the Hawkeyes played a third consecutive game without their starting center, Luka Garza. Garza has an injured ankle that is only 75-80 percent healed, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
Haarms said the Boilermakers realized from the outset where their advantage was.
“Coach (Matt) Painter said early in one of the timeouts, he said it was good that we weren’t settling for shots. We weren’t settling for a contested 3. Instead, we were really getting to the rim,” Haarms said.
The Hawkeyes seemed confused about when to switch on screens at the 3-point arc. Time after time, a Purdue player was able to cut to the basket unimpeded. The Boilermakers had 24 points in the paint at intermission; Iowa had six.
“There was a stretch there where Nicholas (Baer) was trying to guard everybody on the floor,” McCaffery said. “The way they’re spaced and the stuff that Matt runs, it’s too organized to try to run around and stop everything. If you mark a guy or two, that’s one thing. But then you’ve got to stay solid everywhere else. We were not.”
All 10 Boilermakers who played scored.
Iowa, the worst defensive team in the Big Ten a year ago, had thought it was better-equipped to get stops this season. An 11-0 record in non-conference play seemed to indicate improvement.
But Big Ten teams have had no trouble solving the Hawkeye defense.
Moss said he was surprised by what happened Thursday.
“That’s not the norm for us this year,” he said.
“I think we’re going to be fine, really.”
The next chance to prove that comes at 4:30 p.m. Sunday when Nebraska comes to Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“There’s the same sense of urgency as we have every game,” Bohannon said. “It’s another Big Ten Conference game. It’s going to be a home game, so that’s one we definitely have to get.”
Follow the Register on Facebook and Twitter for more sports news. Mark Emmert can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MarkEmmert.