Iowa Men's Basketball

Rutgers buries Iowa, 80-64

Hawkeyes fall behind in first half, can't recover

Rutgers forward Deshawn Freeman battles Iowa’s Luka Garza for a rebound Wednesday at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
Rutgers forward Deshawn Freeman battles Iowa’s Luka Garza for a rebound Wednesday at Louis Brown Athletic Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — For the second straight game, the Iowa men’s basketball team was in a double-digit deficit at halftime. Only this time the Hawkeyes weren’t able to overcome it, losing to Rutgers 80-64 on Wednesday at Louis Brown Athletic Center.

Iowa (10-10, 1-6 Big Ten) trailed by 14 at the half and unlike charging back in a 104-97 overtime win against Illinois on Jan. 11, where it was down by 20 late in the first half, the Hawkeyes never made a surge against Rutgers.

The Hawkeyes fell behind by as many as 23 points in the second half as the Scarlet Knights maintained a double-digit lead.

Iowa led for just 1:29 in the first half. Rutgers (12-8, 2-5) won for the first time against Iowa in six games.

Jordan Bohannon led Iowa with 23 points, Nicholas Baer added 11 points and Tyler Cook had 10 points and eight rebounds, Bohannon and Baer combined for all eight of the Hawkeyes’ 3-pointers.

The Hawkeyes were plagued by 17 turnovers, five from forward Tyler Cook. Rutgers was able to score 24 points off those miscues.

“Some of them were kind of crazy,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “But some of them, again, were trying to go where there’s no need to go. You’ve got to manage the clock better. I thought we missed some guys in the post.

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“They (Rutgers) were aggressive on the ball. They were aggressive defending the post. I thought we had some guys who were open and we didn’t throw it, and maybe we threw it a little bit late.

“We had one stretch in the first half when we were up three and we turned it over three straight times. They capitalized on our live-ball turnovers, and they scored in transition.”

Corey Sanders paced four Scarlet Knights in double figures with 18 points, Geo Baker had 17, Issa Thiam had 16 and Deshawn Freeman recorded 14 points.

The Hawkeyes entered Wednesday sixth in the nation in assists with an average of 19.2, but managed just 12 handouts against Rutgers.

“They (Rutgers) did a pretty good job of limiting my 3s in the second half,” Bohannon said. “We didn’t get much going in the second half.”

Bohannon, who leads the Big Ten in 3-pointers made, connected on just 1 of his 3 shots beyond the arc in the second half.

The Scarlet Knights opened the second half on a 13-4 blitz for a 51-28 cushion, their largest lead to that point.

Iowa failed to score in the final 2:36 of the first half and trailed 38-24.

“I thought we could (come back),” McCaffery said. “There was plenty of time when we were down 14 at half. You want to get it under 10 in a three-possession game.

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“We were working and moving the ball a little bit better, but our execution wasn’t good. And quite honestly our shot selection wasn’t good. We were shooting a lot of jumpers and only shot 10 free throws.”

The Hawkeyes were forced to the perimeter by the Scarlet Knights’ interior defense. Iowa managed just six points in the paint in the first half, shooting 10 of 28 (35.7 percent) overall.

Bohannon paced Iowa in the first half, connecting for 12 points on four 3-pointers.

Rutgers took a 23-13 lead thanks to a a 13-0 run with 7:51 left in the half. The Scarlet Knights moved their lead to 36-19 by outscoring Iowa 13-6.

The Hawkeyes went 3:41 without a basket and trailed 11-4 in the first seven minutes, but three straight 3-pointers from Bohannon gave Iowa its first lead at 13-11.

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