After a first half that saw Iowa shoot 23.3 percent and score 20 points, the Hawkeyes had a complete reversal, shooting nearly 65 percent and blowing past No. 14 Purdue. Iowa also upset No. 1 Michigan State on Tuesday, thanks in part to 25 points from Mike Gesell, right.
IOWA 70, NO. 14 PURDUE 63
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Iowa's defense spent the first half chasing No. 14 Purdue on the perimeter.
When that didn't work, coach FranMcCaffrey turned up the pressure and watched the Boilermakers fall apart Saturday night. The Hawkeyes allowed eight baskets, forced 10 turnovers and rallied from a 17-point deficit after halftime for a 70-63 upset that was Purdue's first home loss of the season.
"We had some success with it last year, more today," McCaffrey said of the half-court traps he used in the second half. "Against this team, in particular, because they're so good in halfcourt offense, you've got to try to go get them a little bit."
The Hawkeyes (11-3, 2-0 Big Ten) executed the plan perfectly and managed to pull off an impressive double by sweeping two top 15 teams this week. They beat No. 1 Michigan State on Tuesday and now have four straight wins.
Iowa also ended a seven-game skid at Purdue that dated to 2006.
Jarrod Uthoff led the way Saturday with 25 points — including 16 of his team's 20 in the first half. Peter Jok had 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Hawkeyes won the game because of their stifling defense, which forced Purdue (13-2, 1-1) to lose its composure.
"We wanted to be more aggressive with it, which we were," McCaffrey said. "We were a little tighter, more aggressive and more active."
It was a complete reversal from the first half when Purdue made 7 of 14 3-pointers and built a 37-20 halftime lead.
In the second half, Purdue's shooters went cold, and Iowa's usual suspects warmed up with some easy baskets. Iowa was 18 of 28 from the field over the final 20 compared with 7 of 30 in the first half. And after going 1 of 10 on 3s in the first half, the Hawkeyes were 7 of 9 from beyond the arc in the second.
Iowa scored six straight to trim a 15-point deficit to nine and followed that with a momentum-changing 13-0 spurt that finally gave it the lead at 48-46 with 7:30 to play.
After Purdue tied it 48-48, the Hawkeyes answered with five straight points to take control. Iowa sealed the win at the foul line.
Kendall Stephens scored 12 points, and A.J. Hammons had 11 to lead Purdue.
"Our guards just didn't handle the basketball well and make good decisions. They were very timid," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "We had zeros turnovers against it in the first half, and right as Iowa saw (the turnovers), they got really aggressive."
Next up, Iowa will host Nebraska on Tuesday.