IOWA CITY (AP) — Jarrod Uthoff kept No. 9 Iowa from falling too far behind.
Once his teammates joined in, Purdue didn’t stand a chance.
Uthoff scored 13 of his 22 points in the first half and Iowa toppled No. 22 Purdue 83-71 Sunday for its ninth straight win.
Adam Woodbury added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (16-3, 7-0 Big Ten), who’ve beaten four ranked teams since late December ahead of Thursday’s meeting at No. 7 Maryland.
Iowa broke open a tight game with a 23-6 run to start the second half, getting baskets from seven players during that stretch.
But the Hawkeyes were again keyed by Uthoff, who entered Sunday as the leading scorer and shot blocker in the Big Ten.
“He’s a special player. He’s one of the best players in the country,” said Iowa point guard Mike Gesell, a South Sioux City, Nebraska, native. “He can go off at any time.”
Vince Edwards had 19 points and P.J. Thompson had 16 for Purdue (17-4, 5-3), which has split its last six games after a 14-1 start.
Iowa cemented its status as a Big Ten contender with a 70-63 win over Purdue earlier this month, outscoring the Boilermakers 50-26 in the second half in West Lafayette.
The Hawkeyes might have effectively knocked Purdue out of the league race by blowing past the Boilermakers again in the second half.
Purdue focused on stopping Uthoff up by two after the break. But Uthoff drew the defense away for a pair of easy layups by Woodbury. Uthoff drove the lane for a left-handed dunk the next time he touched the ball to give Iowa its biggest lead to that point, 47-39.
Brady Ellingson, Nicholas Baer and Dom Uhl followed with consecutive 3s that put the Hawkeyes up 56-41 with 14 minutes left.
“That’s the beautiful thing about this team,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “That means we’re sharing ball.”
The Boilermakers controlled things for much of the first half, though, connecting on six of its first 11 3s. But thanks in part to three well-timed 3s from Uthoff, Iowa closed to 35-33 at halftime.
“They’re a tough team for us to match up against because of their skill and the way they move the ball. They’re very unselfish,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said.
Uthoff and Mike Gesell then opened the second half with 3s to give the Hawkeyes a quick 41-35 lead. That lead would grow to as much as 19 in Iowa’s final game before a trip to College Park that could have huge implications for the league race.
“They get their 3s in a variety of ways,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “Some off their actions. Some in transition, and then some strictly off matchups. Uthoff gets matchups on bigger people, and then he takes his ‘horse’ shots.”
The Hawkeyes improved to 7-3 against teams ranked in the top 50 of the RPI. Iowa also improved to 5-2 against ranked opponents, which includes winning the last four contests (No. 1 Michigan State, No. 14 Purdue, No. 4 Michigan State, No. 22 Purdue).
And another ranked opponant awaits the Hawkeyes, who travel to Maryland next.
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