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The one that got away

This news story was published on December 29, 2011.
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John Bohnenkamp, The Hawk Eye –

The Hawkeyes wrestled with Purdue for the entire game in Wednesday’s Big Ten opener. But the Boilermakers had every answer in a 79-76 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Missed shots – both from the field and at the free-throw line – combined with porous defense at crucial times cost the Hawkeyes (8-6 overall, 0-1 Big Ten).

It was the lack of defense that especially disturbed Iowa coach Fran McCaffery.

“It’s very simple – you guard the guy in front of you,” McCaffery said. “I think it was disappointing the way we played defense in the second half. I think it was disappointing the way we played defense the entire game.”

Purdue’s last 10 field goals were layups or shots within 10 feet.

“That’s the main thing that hurt us,” said Iowa guard Matt Gatens. “They were all getting in there, putting pressure on us.”

“It’s frustrating,” sophomore guard Devyn Marble said. “Like you said, it was there for us to take. At the end of the game, we just didn’t make enough plays.”

It was a single-digit game for the entire 40 minutes, but outside of an early 4-2 Iowa lead and an early second-half tie, Purdue always seemed in control.

“It’s important late in the game to be getting layups and making free throws,” said Purdue coach Matt Painter. “We did that.”

The closing minutes were especially agonizing for the Hawkeyes.

Down 71-67 with 3:16 to play, Bryce Cartwright missed a chance to convert on a free throw after being fouled on a drive to the basket. The Hawkeyes got the ball back, but Melsahn Basabe missed a shot inside.

Less than a minute later, Purdue’s Lewis Jackson scored on a drive for a 73-67 lead. Eric May answered with two free throws for the Hawkeyes at the 1:57 mark, but 17 seconds later Jackson answered with another drive to the basket.

Robbie Hummel got a steal from Cartwright on the Hawkeyes’ next possession. The Boilermakers tried to run some clock, and Hummel missed a 3-pointer from the corner with two seconds left on the shot clock.

The Hawkeyes pushed the ball up court, and Gatens delivered with a long 3-pointer – his first points in almost 21 minutes – and Iowa trailed 75-72.

Purdue then worked the clock again, with Barlow slicing through the lane for an easy basket with 22 seconds to play.

Cartwright raced down court and scored with 15 seconds left, then after a timeout, Hummel was fouled. He made both free throws to seal the win, the last points of the game coming on a shot by Gatens with one second to play.

The Boilermakers (11-3, 1-0) played 10 players, and all of them had at least one field goal in the first half.

“No matter who they put in there, they got to the basket,” McCaffery said.

“It seemed like the shots they were making were impossible,” Marble said. “But give them credit, they made the plays and we didn’t.”

Hummel led Purdue with 16 points. D.J. Byrd came off the bench to score 14 points. Kelsey Barlow added 12.

The Boilermakers got 36 points off the bench.

“You need to have guys coming off the bench and being productive,” Painter said. “We’re just happy that we could walk out of here with a victory. We’re very fortunate.”

Marble led Iowa with 17 points. Basabe had 14 points, and Gatens had 11.

It’s not going to get easier for the Hawkeyes – four of the next five games are against ranked teams.

Which is why this one, that was so close, hurt so much.

“The game was right there,” Gatens said. “It’s just disappointing to be that close and not be able to get the win.”

PURDUE (11-3, 1-0)

Robbie Hummel 5-14 5-6 16, Jacob Lawson 2-4 0-0 4, Kelsey Barlow 5-7 2-3 12, Lewis Jackson 3-8 0-0 6, Ryne Smith 2-6 0-0 5, Terone Johnson 3-7 0-2 6, Anthony Johnson 2-3 0-0 4, D.J. Byrd 6-9 0-0 14, John Hart 3-4 0-0 8, Travis Carroll 2-4 0-0 4. Totals: 33-66 7-11 79.

IOWA (8-6, 0-1)

Melsahn Basabe 6-8 2-3 14, Zach McCabe 2-3 1-1 5, Devyn Marble 6-12 5-8 17, Matt Gatens 3-9 4-4 11, Eric May 2-7 4-4 9, Josh Oglesby 1-2 0-0 3, Andrew Brommer 0-0 2-4 2, Bryce Cartwright 4-10 0-1 8, Aaron White 2-4 3-4 7. Totals: 26-55 21-29 76.

Halftime: Purdue 45, Iowa 39. Total fouls: Purdue 21, Iowa 13. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: Purdue 6-20 (Hart 2-3, Byrd 2-5, Hummel 1-5, Smith 1-5, Jackson 0-1, T.Johnson 0-1), Iowa 3-11 (Oglesby 1-1, Gatens 1-2, May 1-2, Marble 0-1, White 0-2, Cartwright 0-3). Rebounds: Purdue 35 (Hummel 11), Iowa 34 (Basabe 8). Assists: Purdue 11 (Jackson 4), Iowa 15 (Marble 6). Blocked shots: Purdue 1 (Hummel 1), Iowa 4 (Basabe 2). Turnovers: Purdue 7, Iowa 10.

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