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Hawkeye men’s home farewell wrecked by hot-shooting Huskers
Iowa dominates most of the stats in 81-77 loss except for a big one: Shooting
IOWA CITY — So many statistics made Iowa’s 81-77 men’s basketball loss to Nebraska a head-scratcher Sunday, but a couple of them clarified a lot.
One, the Hawkeyes shot 29.7 percent in the second half to the Huskers’ 60 percent. Two, Iowa didn’t make a basket in the game’s final 6:12.
Yet, who loses when they get 21 more field goal attempts than their opponent, or has 21 offensive rebounds? Or steals the ball 12 times and only has it stolen once? On top of taking 17 free throws to the foe’s eight?
Who loses after turning the ball over just six times while forcing 15 miscues, while scoring 21 points off turnovers while allowing only 10, while getting 31 second-chance points to the other team’s 11?
That was Iowa on this day before a sellout Senior Day crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and heads were indeed scratched.
“Shots weren’t falling for us,” said Iowa’s Kris Murray, who scored 22 points but made just 3 of the 13 3-pointers he took as Iowa went 12-for-37.
“We got good looks, open shots, good passes out of the double-team in the post. Just we didn’t convert, honestly.”
The loss closed Iowa’s Big Ten ledger at 11-9 (19-12 overall). The Hawkeyes get the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten tournament, which means they’ll have to win four games in four days for the second-straight year to repeat as tourney-champs. They will meet either Ohio State or Wisconsin Thursday in Chicago at approximately 1:25 p.m. The Buckeyes and Badgers meet on Wednesday.
Nebraska improved to 9-11 in league play and 16-15 overall after finishing a two-game season-sweep over Iowa. It made 14 of 26 3s, 8 of 12 after halftime.
The Hawkeyes did what they intended in clamping down on the Huskers’ two leading scorers this season, Derrick Walker and Keisei Tominaga. But that left others open, and those others took advantage.
Jamarques Lawrence, a freshman guard who came in averaging 4.3 points, made five 3-pointers in eight tries and matched his career-high of 15 points. Sam Hoiberg, the 6-foot walk-on son of Huskers head coach/Iowa State great Fred Hoiberg, had nine second-half points.
After the game, it was suggested to the coach that his son has good basketball DNA.
“From his mom,” Hoiberg said.
Another son of his team’s coach, Iowa’s Connor McCaffery, had nine assists in his final game at Carver. His brother, junior forward Patrick McCaffery, made a career-high six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 23 points.
“We’re just going to try to learn from it, watch the film, bounce back,” Patrick McCaffery said.
“That’s all you can do. Because now it’s win or go home, no matter where we’re at.”
Nebraska has a winning regular season after being 10-13 coming into February. It did that without two starters who played against Iowa in December, players who missed most of the conference season to injuries.
Iowa, meanwhile, was fresh off what has been described as the best road performance by any Big Ten team all season in its 90-68 win at Indiana Tuesday. It could have used a couple baskets from that game Sunday.
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