No. 18 Iowa falls flat in home finale, gets swept by Purdue

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa may have lost its chance to get a double-bye in the Big Ten Conference men's basketball tournament next week.

If the Hawkeyes play like they did Tuesday, they'll face a quick goodbye.

Purdue came into Carver-Hawkeye Arena with more urgency and led virtually the entire game in a 77-68 victory that completed a season sweep of Iowa.

It ended Iowa's 13-game home winning streak in stunning fashion.

The only feel-good moment for the Hawkeyes came when junior center Luka Garza scored his 14th point, giving him 700 for the season to move past John Johnson for the best output in program history. Johnson scored 699 points in 1969-70.

Garza ended up with 26 in the game, the same total he had in the first meeting.

But once again he didn't get nearly enough help. Joe Wieskamp made a late layup to get to 10 points, the only other Hawkeye to get to double digits.

Iowa center Luka Garza, center, attempts to shoot a basket as Purdue's Sasha Stefanovic (55) Aaron Wheeler (1) and  Trevion Williams (50) defend during a NCAA Big Ten Conference men's basketball game, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

No. 18 Iowa (20-10, 11-8 Big Ten Conference) entered the game with two primary motivations: To avenge an embarrassing 104-68 loss at Purdue on Feb. 5, and to preserve its perfect home record in conference games.

Instead, the Hawkeyes got pushed around in the opening 20 minutes as Purdue (16-14, 9-10) scored at will near the basket and were quicker to get to missed shots. The Boilermakers, who had lost four of their past five games, outscored Iowa 24-8 in the paint and outrebounded the Hawkeyes 27-12 in the first half.

Purdue pushed its lead to 42-21 as the home crowd got quiet. Iowa closed that gap slightly to 42-25 at halftime.

Hawkeye coach Fran McCaffery was at first exasperated with his team, and then livid. He appeared to break two clipboards during one timeout while screaming at his players to show more energy. He later picked up a technical foul arguing a call that went against his son, Connor.

His players didn’t match his energy. Garza had 10 points and six rebounds in the first half. CJ Fredrick buried his first two 3-point attempts. The rest of the Hawkeyes combined to make 4 of 18 shots. No one other than Garza got to the free-throw line or grabbed an offensive rebound.

It was a startlingly timid performance by a team that has shown confidence and toughness for most of the season.

McCaffery inserted senior Ryan Kriener, playing his final game at CHA, into the starting lineup for the second half, replacing freshman Joe Toussaint. Kriener hit a 3-pointer to cut Purdue's lead to 42-30, but Iowa could never get much closer, making only eight of 30 3-pointers in the game.

The Boilermakers were simply the more opportunistic team, playing with more poise. Case in point: Each team committed 15 turnovers. Purdue turned them into 25 points; Iowa just 10.

Iowa concludes the regular season with a 6 p.m. Sunday game at Illinois.

Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.

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