116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
INDIANAPOLIS — One of the most-glorious weekends in Iowa men’s basketball history is all it was.
The Hawkeyes defended as well as they have in ages in a game that mattered, and defeated Purdue 75-66 in Gainbridge Fieldhouse Sunday afternoon. That was the capper to four wins in as many days, and it sent the Big Ten’s 2022 men’s basketball tournament championship to Iowa City.
The triumph catapulted Iowa toward the NCAA tournament with a 26-9 record and produced its first title in this event since 2006.
The world — or at least it seemed with a tenacious Purdue team and a partisan Boilermakers crowd — seemingly was against Iowa after a 7-0 Boilermakers run in 45 seconds pulled Purdue within 63-62 with 3:09 left. But Iowa scored the next seven points and pulled away.
Iowa’s 6-foot-5 Connor McCaffery made a shot over Purdue’s 6-10 Trevion Williams and was fouled, sank the free throw, and it was 66-62 with 2:42 remaining. The Boilermakers never got closer.
An offensive team won this game with defense. Iowa had 13 steals and forced 17 Purdue turnovers, while committing just six turnovers itself.
When the Hawkeyes weren’t defending they were using their hands to track down loose balls, tie up Boilermakers, and simply make smart plays.
Iowa had to do this while getting overwhelmed on the boards by the larger Purdue squad, paced by 7-foot-4 Zach Edey and 6-10 widebody Williams. The Boilermakers had a 48-30 edge in rebounds, but Iowa kept battling underneath and denying many a second chance or even third chance from hurting.
The Hawkeyes never trailed in the first half. They opened a 21-14 lead on a 6-0 run fueled by steals by Josh Ogundele, Joe Toussaint and Jordan Bohannon within 36 seconds. Each were converted into baskets, one by seldom-used reserve center Ogundele, the other two by backup point guard Toussaint.
Iowa used 12 players in the half, partly because forwards Filip Rebraca and Kris Murray picked up two fouls. It was the first significant action for Ogundele in two months. He had four points in the half and drew a second foul on 7-foot-4 Boilermaker Zach Edey.
Iowa led 35-32 at the break after leading by as much as eight points. The Hawkeyes were out-rebounded 27-15 in the half, but made up for that discrepancy with just one turnover to Purdue’s nine, eight of them on Iowa steals.
The Hawkeyes made just 3 of 15 3-pointers in the half.
Purdue took its first lead with 17:40 left, and there were five more lead changes after that. The fury on the floor and the passion from the predominantly-Purdue crowd were high.
Keegan Murray had a game-high 19 points and broke the record for total points in this tourney with 103, the last two on a breakaway jam after a long in-bounds pass from Connor McCaffery with 54 seconds left for a 72-64 Iowa lead.
Murray was named the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player, and Bohannon was on the all-tournament team.
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