No. 3 Purdue 87, Iowa 64: 3 takeaways, highlights

Purdue guard Carsen Edwards goes to the basket around Iowa guard Isaiah Moss Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. (Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports)
Purdue guard Carsen Edwards goes to the basket around Iowa guard Isaiah Moss Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. (Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports)

IOWA CITY – If nothing else, halftime of Saturday’s game between the Iowa men’s basketball team and No. 3 Purdue was touching.

The University of Iowa honored the 25th anniversary of Chris Street’s death with a tribute video, as well as introducing Chris Street Award winners, former head coach Tom Davis and Street’s parents, Mike and Patty.

Outside of that, Iowa’s 87-64 loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena served as one of the worst performances of the Fran McCaffery era and as a low point of the 2017-18 season.

Here are 3 takeaways from the game:

1. Iowa appeared apathetic

The suggestion that Iowa wasn’t trying hard enough, lacked effort or didn’t play with required desire to be successful got a boost on Saturday. While it’s silly to think the players don’t want to win or play well, the way in which the Hawkeyes responded to an early onslaught of Purdue 3-pointers showed a look of being lost and broken.

Iowa went more than six minutes without scoring in the first half, and was down 31 at halftime. The worst it got was 37 with 16:22 left in the second half. At home.

Regardless of whether or not the game honored Chris Street, Iowa’s performance was a clear indication of where the Hawkeyes are mentally. What they say, in terms of staying positive and trying to encourage each other, stands in opposition to their body language.

2. You get a 3, you get a 3, you get a 3

Iowa’s 3-point defense has been a point of contention throughout the season. The Hawkeyes have struggled with closeouts and defensive rotations. But Saturday was a different level of bad.

The Boilermakers made 20 3-pointers. Purdue was 11 of 16 from 3-point range at halftime and was 15 of 20 early in the second half before “cooling” to go 5 of 13 from beyond the arc the rest of the way and finishing 20 of 33. In all, five different Purdue players made a 3, led by Carsen Edwards, who had 22 points and was 6 of 9 from 3-point range.

It wasn’t that Purdue was having an other-worldy night shooting, either. The Boilermakers were open on most attempts. High ball screens gave them rudimentary looks from the top of the key. They were in rhythm and comfortable on most possessions. Purdue only got three points from Isaac Haas, but he didn’t really even need to touch the ball.

3. Luka Garza, at least

If there was anything positive on Saturday, it was freshman forward Luka Garza.

Before Purdue called off the dogs and put in the end of its bench, Garza played inspired basketball. He finished with 19 points on 8 of 10 shooting in just 20 minutes – he didn’t play the last stretch either, as McCaffery emptied his bench, too – and played like he wanted to be out there.

He even left for a while with a badly-bloodied nose and returned to continue to play well.

At least there was that.


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