116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Sports / Iowa Hawkeyes / Iowa Basketball
Hawkeyes put defense-minded Rutgers on wrong side of shootout, win 93-82
Iowa makes 12 of 24 3s, 29 of 34 free throws against the nation’s No. 4 team in scoring defense
IOWA CITY — It’s fair to say the Iowa men’s basketball team imposed its will on Rutgers this season.
The Scarlet Knights entered Sunday’s game at Iowa fourth in the nation in scoring defense at 57.0 points per game. The most they had allowed was on Jan. 8, in the Hawkeyes’ 76-65 win.
The rematch at Carver-Hawkeye Arena was another 11-point Iowa victory, this time by 93-82.
“We shot 50 percent for the game,” said Rutgers Coach Steve Pikiell. “You just can’t get into a you-score, they-score kind of game with Iowa.
“Holding them 10 points under that average, that’s what our goal was. Obviously when you turn the ball over the way we did (18 times), that’s not going to help your mission.”
The Hawkeyes were 12-of-24 from 3-point distance, and that sure helps, especially compared to their 3-of-17 in a 63-61 loss at Michigan State three days earlier. They also were 29-of-34 from the foul line to the Scarlet Knights’ 10-of-14, forcing 25 fouls while committing just 14.
Thus, Iowa improved to 5-5 in the Big Ten and 13-8 overall, and began its three-game stretch of home games this week the way it wanted. Rutgers is 6-4 and 14-7.
The Hawkeyes fell behind 6-0 and didn’t score until the game was nearly four minutes old. They progressively got things rolling. An 11-2 run to end the first half gave them a 45-34 lead.
Rutgers had a 9-0 run to cut Iowa’s lead to 68-67 with 8:05 left, but the Hawkeyes peeled off eight straight points of their own and brought the win home before a crowd of 13,907.
Those fans had a loud ovation for someone who hadn’t scored a point in four weeks. Junior forward Patrick McCaffery returned to action after sitting out the previous six games to deal with anxiety.
McCaffery represented his team’s performance, making all three of his 3-point tries, and getting two assists, a block and a steal in 13 minutes.
“Getting the love from Hawkeye fans made me feel really great,” he said.
His brother, senior Connor McCaffery, assisted on all three of those 3s. He had 11 points of his own, and three other assists.
Good statistics abounded for Iowa. Kris Murray had 24 points and blocked three shots. Payton Sandfort matched his career-high eight rebounds. Tony Perkins had 11 points and seven rebounds. Josh Dix dropped in eight points in 10 minutes.
Junior guard Ahron Ulis scored 16 points, giving him 33 in the last two games after the two highest-scoring games of his career.
“It’s great to see him (Ulis) play well,” Murray said, “because we knew it was within him.”
Making 3s was where this game was won. Rutgers had seven more baskets than Iowa, but the Hawkeyes had that dozen 3-pointers to the Scarlet Knights’ six.
Seven different Iowa players made 3s in the first half alone.
“It happens pretty simply,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “They’re comfortable taking them. If they’re not, you’re not going to take them and you’re not going to make them.
“Regardless of what might have happened in the last game or two games ago if you had a poor shooting night, which we did in the last game, I never said a word to any of those guys.
“We took 17 3s in the Michigan State game. I’d have been fine with us taking 27, or 35. If you’re open, shoot the ball.”
Iowa hosts the Big Ten’s second-place team in Northwestern (15-5, 6-3) Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Comments: (319) 398-8440; firstname.lastname@example.org