It was a much needed victory for the Iowa Hawkeyes as they defeated the Purdue Boilermakers 58-48 Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Maybe not in the sense of resume building for the NCAA tournament because I think we all can agree that that is an unlikely scenario, but in the sense of confidence boosting. This is a good win for a young team coming off a bad loss to Nebraska last Saturday.
When asked if this win was more good defense or bad offense Fran McCaffery said, “For us, it was good defense, the defense was phenomenal.”
However, on the offensive end for the Hawkeyes it was a struggle to say the least. The team shot a horrendous 21% in the first half of play, but then were able to shoot a much better 43% in the second half giving them 31% for the game. While the shooting from the floor was bad, the team was able to make up for it at the free throw line where the went 21-29 and most notably, Aaron White shooting 11-14 and totaling 18 points to go along with 9 rebounds. Devyn Marble also added 18 for the Hawkeyes.
The team was without starting point guard Mike Gesell for the game and should be without him “for a couple of weeks” according to McCaffery. However, he was not willing to give out any more information on Gesell’s injury other than it has to do with his foot. There was a lot of buzz as to how this team would react without one of their better players and then guys like Josh Oglesby and Anthony Clemmons show up ready to play.
While Oglesby didn’t shoot particularly well, he hit a big three when it looked like the Boilers were about to make a run to put an end to that real quick.
“He’s a smart player, I’m so proud of him for making that shot, not a lot of guys can do that,” McCaffery said of Oglesby’s shot late in the game.
Anthony Clemmons was the other half of the previously mentioned duo and he came out gunning early with a steal and then a dunk going the other way to ignite the crowd.
Coach Matt Painter gave credit to the Hawkeyes on the defensive end.
“They made us take tough shots all night long,” Painter said.
Donnie Hale was a bright spot for the Boilers as he scored 6 of the first 10 points for his team. A.J. Hammons totaled 12 points in just 18 minutes to go along with 9 rebounds all while being in foul trouble for a majority of the game.
The Hawkeyes will turn their attention to Saturday now when they will go to Bloomington, Indiana to take on the number one ranked Hoosiers. It would be a big road win for the Hawkeyes if they still have any hope of making it to the NCAA tournament.
It would take a clean sweep on their remaining regular season games and most likely three wins in the Big Ten tournament if they wanted to be a tournament team. Tonight was a good start, but the team will still likely be without Mike Gesell come Saturday.