IOWA CITY — Oh, what a week of woe for the Iowa men’s basketball program.
Iowa lost 86-72 to Rutgers Saturday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to cap a bad and chaotic week.
After losing 90-70 at Ohio State Tuesday and getting head coach Fran McCaffery suspended for two games Wednesday because of a postgame altercation he had with a Big Ten game official at OSU, the Hawkeyes were routed by the Scarlet Knights in Iowa’s regular-season home finale.
Iowa made just three field goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half, fell behind by as many as 21 points, and laid an egg an ostrich would consider large.
The No. 21 Hawkeyes fell for the third time in their last four games on their way out of the national rankings, and dropped to 21-8 overall, 10-8 in the Big Ten. Rutgers is 14-14, 7-11.
The first half was a slog for Iowa. The second of Ron Harper Jr.’s three 3-pointers in the half gave the Scarlet Knights an 11-9 lead, and they stayed in front the rest of the half. Harper, a freshman guard, matched his career-high of 16 points in the first half alone and finished with a game-high 27.
Iowa went 5:10 without a basket as it fell behind 20-12. The closest it got the rest of the half and game was five points.
In an added indignity, Rutgers’ 6-foot-10 Issa Thiam came off the bench for the first time in the game to sink three corner 3-pointers in the final 2:32 of the half to help his team go to the break with a 39-30 advantage. Thiam’s previous Big Ten-high this season was five points, and he hadn’t made more than one 3-pointer in a game since last Nov. 16.
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Senior Nicholas Baer, playing presumably his final home game for Iowa, led his team with 17 points.
Iowa shot just 35.7 percent from the field and made only 8 of 29 3-pointers.
The Hawkeyes resume play Thursday night at No. 18 Wisconsin.
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