Iowa Men's Basketball

Painter's Purdue punishes Iowa in the paint

Boilermakers led by as much as 26; Hawkeyes 0-3 in Big Ten

Iowa guard Joe Weiskamp (10) drives between Purdue guard Ryan Cline (14) and forward Aaron Wheeler (1) in the first half of the Hawkeyes’ loss at Mackey Arena Thursday night. (Thomas J. Russo/USA TODAY Sports)
Iowa guard Joe Weiskamp (10) drives between Purdue guard Ryan Cline (14) and forward Aaron Wheeler (1) in the first half of the Hawkeyes’ loss at Mackey Arena Thursday night. (Thomas J. Russo/USA TODAY Sports)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The ranking isn’t the reality.

Iowa is tied for 20th in the coaches’ Top 25 because the coaches are too busy watching their own teams and not everyone else’s. Top 20 teams don’t lose by 22 and 16 points in their first two Big Ten road games.

Purdue dissected the Hawkeyes’ defense Thursday night in Mackey Arena for an 86-70 triumph.

“Just mental slips on the defensive side,” said Iowa junior guard Isaiah Moss.

“That’s not the norm for us this year.”

But it is the norm for the Hawkeyes on the road in the Big Ten over the last two seasons. For the 11th-straight league road game, Iowa fell behind by at least 17 points. That unseemly streak was extended by halftime. Purdue’s lead grew to 26 on two occasions.

Where the game got away is where it’s usually gotten away in those 11 road experiences (one of which was an overtime win at Illinois last year), which is the second 10 minutes of the first half. Here, Iowa was down by just 21-17 at the 10-minute mark, but 52-35 at halftime.

Michigan State had 48 points in the paint against the Hawkeyes a month earlier. Purdue had 42 Thursday.

“We got confused on some switches when we shouldn’t be switching,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said.

“You mark a guy or two, that’s one thing, then you’ve got to stay solid everywhere else, and we were not.”

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Carsen Edwards, one of the nation’s leading scorers at 25.5 points per game, had “just” 21 in this one. But seven of the 10 players Purdue Coach Matt Painter used topped their season averages.


Matt Haarms, a 7-foot-3 sophomore, almost doubled his average with 14 too-easy points. With Tyler Cook and Ryan Kriener on the bench with two fouls, 6-6 walk-on Riley Till tried to defend Haarms in the last minute of the first half. Till fouled him twice, and Haarms made four free throws.

Edwards went coast-to-coast and managed to score on a 1-on-3 situation with two seconds left in the first half. He’s good, but he shouldn’t be that good.

For the first several minutes, Iowa countered Purdue’s fast, furious pace.

“We told each other this can’t be a scoring contest,” Haarms said. “One team needed to make an adjustment and start stopping them, and we had to be that team.”

Cook had 24 points, but just six in the first half when he went 2-for-8 and missed a few jumpers.

“I want to make every shot I take,” he said, and almost did in the second half when he went 7-of-8, all in the paint. “I’m not crying over it. They (his jump shots) will go in, so I’ll keep shooting when I’m open.”

Purdue is 9-5 overall, 2-1 in the Big Ten. Iowa is 11-3 and 0-3.

“We can’t hang our heads about being 0-3 in the conference,” Hawkeye guard Jordan Bohannon said. “I know it sucks.”

For the third-straight game, sophomore forward Luka Garza (12.7 points per game) didn’t play for Iowa because of a sprained ankle. He might return for Sunday’s 4:30 p.m. home game against No. 23 Nebraska.

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“He was not ready (Thursday),” McCaffery said. “We had no intention of playing him.

“We’re better with him. We need him.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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