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A defensive nightmare

John Bohnenkamp, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa –

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Iowa scored 89 points in Assembly Hall.

The Hawkeyes shot 79 percent from the field in the second half, 63 percent for the game.

They scored 52 second-half points.

Should be enough to win, right?

Not Sunday against 16th-ranked Indiana. The Hoosiers put on a show against an Iowa defense that really didn’t seem interested in stopping anyone in a 103-89 victory.


“Yeah, I think so,” senior guard Bryce Cartwright said.

“Putting up 89 points in Assembly Hall is pretty good,” senior guard Matt Gatens said. “We just couldn’t get any stops.”

“You go on the road, shoot 80 (percent) in the second half, score 89, you should be all right, shouldn’t you?” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.

Indiana (17-5 overall, 5-5 Big Ten) shot 55.2 percent from the field. The Hoosiers had 58 points inside – the 10 dunks that they had, seven by Cody Zeller, showed just how easy it was for them to score.

“They were just catching the ball and getting to the basket,” McCaffery said.

“They had a better inside post presence than we did,” Cartwright said. “And that gave them easy baskets.”

Iowa’s defense has disappeared since halftime of Thursday’s loss to Nebraska. The Hawkeyes gave up 48 second-half points in that game, then gave up 54 points in the first half of this game. And in the last three halves, the Huskers and Hoosiers combined to shoot 54.7 percent.

That has put pressure on Iowa’s offense to keep up, and while the Hawkeyes did that in this game, it wasn’t enough.

It was Iowa’s best scoring output since they scored 105 points in a win against Central Arkansas on Dec. 19. It was also the best shooting performance by an Iowa team since 2006 against Michigan.

But with the Hoosiers scoring at will, and rarely being challenged, all of those stats were meaningless.

“It’s a really good feat,” Gatens said. “But not when you’re giving up 100 points.”

Zeller, a freshman, was especially dominant. He was 11-of-12 from the field and finished with a career-high 26 points.

“Zeller never really made too many post moves,” said Iowa freshman guard Josh Oglesby, who had a career-high 24 points. “He was just left open for all of those dunks.”

The Hawkeyes never contained Indiana’s dribble penetration, which led to so many easy baskets.

“The bottom line was we had to take what the defense gave us,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said.

“It wasn’t like they were running a lot of stuff to get (the post players) the ball,” McCaffery said. “They were just catching and finishing.”

“Way too many layups,” Gatens said. “Way too many dunks.”

McCaffery said he questioned his team’s toughness after the game, considering all of the easy layups.

“That came up,” he said.

“I think we had too many lapses,” Cartwright said. “We scored when we wanted to, we just couldn’t stop them.”

“I think we have tough guys,” Gatens said. “It’s just not coming together right now.”

The Hoosiers took 67 shots, only 16 of those were 3-point attempts.

“Why shoot a three?” McCaffery said.

Iowa (11-11, 3-6) had won five of the last six games in this series, including the last two at Assembly Hall.

And for a while in this game, the Hawkeyes kept pace with the Hoosiers. Indiana led just 32-31 with seven minutes to play in the first half before the Hoosiers closed with a 22-6 run punctuated by Zeller’s dunk with 30 seconds to go.

And even during that run, Iowa was within 42-36 with 4:06 to play. But the Hawkeyes would get just one point the rest of the half.

“Even when it was (six), we still were in the game,” McCaffery said. “Then they go on that run to end the half. We were cooking in the second half, it was just a different game because of that run.”

Iowa got to within 12 points on five occasions early in the second half before the Hoosiers finished off the Hawkeyes with an 11-2 run finished by a Zeller jam.

It was Indiana’s biggest scoring output in the series since a 110-79 win to close the 1995 regular season. The Hoosiers had scored just 106 points in the previous two games against the Hawkeyes at Assembly Hall.

Indiana, which had lost four of its last five, more than doubled its scoring output from Thursday’s 57-50 loss at Wisconsin.

The Hawkeyes have lost five of their last six games. McCaffery switched the starting lineup for this game, putting Cartwright and freshman Aaron White in while bringing Melsahn Basabe and Eric May off the bench.

Asked what he can do now, with home games coming up against Minnesota on Wednesday and Penn State on Saturday, McCaffery wasn’t sure what was next.

“I don’t know what radical changes I could make,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of things to clean up,” Gatens said.

IOWA (11-11, 3-6)

Zach McCabe 1-3 1-1 3, Aaron White 4-9 0-1 9, Devyn Marble 6-9 1-2 13, Matt Gatens 9-13 1-1 20, Bryce Cartwright 2-2 4-6 8, Gabe Olaseni 0-1 2-4 2, Melsahn Basabe 2-3 2-4 6, Josh Oglesby 8-12 2-2 24, Steven McCarty 0-0 0-0 0, Andrew Brommer 0-0 0-0 0, Eric May 0-0 0-0 0, Branden Stubbs 1-1 0-0 2, Darius Stokes 0-0 0-0 0, Devon Archie 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 34-54 13-21 89.

INDIANA (17-5, 5-5)

Christian Watford 4-10 7-8 15, Cody Zeller 11-12 4-6 26, Jordan Hulls 3-4 0-0 6, Will Sheehey 2-5 4-4 10, Verdell Jones III 4-10 6-7 14, Kory Barnett 1-2 0-0 2, Victor Oladipo 5-8 2-2 12, Austin Etherington 0-2 0-0 0, Raphael Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Wayer 0-0 0-0 0, Remy Abell 0-2 0-0 0, Jeff Joward 0-0 0-0 0, Tom Pritchard 3-5 1-2 7, Matt Roth 0-2 0-0 0, Derek Elston 4-5 1-2 11. Totals: 37-67 25-31 103.

Halftime: Indiana 54, Iowa 37. Total fouls: Iowa 23, Indiana 17. Fouled out: White. 3-point goals: Iowa 8-15 (Oglesby 6-8, White 1-2, Gatens 1-4, Marble 0-1), Indiana 4-16 (Sheehey 2-2, Elston 2-2, Hulls 0-1, Barnett 0-1, Oladipo 0-1, Etherington 0-1, Watford 0-3, Jones 0-3). Rebounds: Iowa 22 (Marble, Basabe 3), Indiana 37 (Watford 7). Assists: Iowa 16 (Cartwright 8), Indiana 20 (Jones 9). Blocked shots: Iowa 6 (Olaseni, Basabe 2), Indiana 5 (Elston 2). Turnovers: Iowa 17, Indiana 13. Attendance: 17,243.

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