The Iowa center says it was a frustrating eight minutes in training room trying to get his nose to stop bleeding. Mark Emmert / The Register
IOWA CITY, Ia. — A nearly full Carver-Hawkeye Arena was ready to explode at any glimmer of Iowa hope. The Hawkeyes’ season has been a rough one, but on day where Chris Street’s legacy was honored with a highly ranked foe in town, the energy was certainly there early.
Then, the game tipped. And Purdue zoomed away with zero resistance.
The No. 3 Boilermakers (19-2, 8-0 Big Ten Conference) unleashed a barrage of early treys and left Iowa (10-11, 1-7) in the dust, rolling to a 87-64 win on Saturday afternoon.
"You try not to take basketball as everything in life — I've kind of been learning that this year — you're going to have low points in your life," sophomore Jordan Bohannon said. "Obviously as a team, I guess you could say this is one of them. But at the end of the day, we have another game Tuesday.
"So as much as you want to dwell on this one, as much as we want to get upset with each other and upset with us individually, the sun rises the next day. You can take that for what it's worth, I guess. We just have to keep working."
Purdue opened 0-for-3 from deep, then hit 11 of its next 13 treys to stick the Hawkeyes in an 18-point hole not even 10 minutes in. After an 18-0 run that saw Iowa go scoreless for more than six minutes, the Boilermakers’ grip didn’t dip below 20 points over the first half’s final five minutes. Purdue sported a 51-20 led at the break — easily Iowa’s worst halftime deficit of the season. Nothing changed in the second half.
Here’s what we learned:
The Boilermakers entered averaging 10 treys per contest — good for tops in the Big Ten and 27th nationally — but Purdue blew by that number in the first half alone. In the opening 20 minutes, Iowa had fewer field goals (eight) than the Boilermakers had 3-pointers (11). Everyone had a hand in the destruction as five different Boilermakers hit from deep en route to a 20-for-33 performance.
"We got outplayed by a really good team," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "They've been doing it to everybody. We've got to learn from it, move on and keep grinding."
A single glimmer
There’s no quicker way for effort to waver than falling in a 30-point first-half hole, but Iowa at least had one small bright spot in Luka Garza. The freshman finished with a team-high 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting, despite making a first-half locker room trip with a bloody nose after Isaac Haas accidentally knocked him in face.
"I didn't see it as intentional, but he was clearing out trying to get to the basket," Garza said. "He's a big dude. It happens; I got hit with a lot of (elbows) that game. He's a big dude and a great player."
Garza's scoring output tied a career high in Big Ten play, also marking just the second time this season he's hit multiple treys in a game.
"Took advantage of that," Garza said. "Got a couple shots on the outside, got my inside game going. But my teammates did a great job of finding me the ball, and I was kind of feeling it there for a little bit."
Dom comes in
Dom Uhl made a rare appearance, tying his season high in minutes with eight. He checked in briefly in the first half and scored his first points since Iowa’s win over Alabama State on Nov. 12. He finished with two points, two rebounds and one assist.
Ryan Kriener missed Saturday’s game with a concussion — his second this season. Kriener, who played well last year versus Purdue, collided with an official during Wednesday’s game at Rutgers.
Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting, Iowa and UNI athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.