BLOOMINGTON, Ind. Iowa committed as many turnovers in the first half as the Hawkeyes scored points, at the No. 1 team in the country.
There's little else that needs examination in Iowa's 73-60 loss at top-ranked Indiana last night. The Hawkeyes' first-half offense was out of sync and inconsistent. Shots weren't falling, and neither were the free throws. The Hawkeyes sank 29.2 percent (7 of 24) from the field and missed all five 3-point attempts. Iowa also missed all three free-throw attempts.
But Iowa (18-11, 7-9 Big Ten) trailed only 26-14 because the Hoosiers (25-4, 13-3 Big Ten) were nearly as inept. Indiana shot 28.6 percent from the floor and missed all nine 3-point attempts. But for a team needing a signature road win to elevate their NCAA tournament chances, the Hawkeyes did little to capitalize on the Hoosiers' shooting woes.
"When you put yourself in the position we did down however many going into the half against the No. 1 team in the country at their house, it's going to be hard to come back," said Iowa junior Devyn Marble, who scored 18 of his team-high 20 points in the second half. "We tried to fight back, I will say that. But we've got a lot to do."
Iowa had its chances to stay with Indiana late in the first half, cutting an 11-point deficit to 20-14 when Melsahn Basabe scored inside and was fouled by Christian Watford with 3:37 left. But Basabe missed the ensuing free throw, and Indiana's Will Sheehey finished a fast break with a dunk to boost the Hoosiers' lead to 22-14.
"I think the disappointing thing was, we had a chance to get it to five. It shouldn't have been 12," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "We had a chance to get it to five, Melsahn misses a free throw on a three-point play, Whitey gets fouled and missed the front end. Gabe (Olaseni) gets fouled and missed the front end. We had a chance to get it under 10.
"If we're down seven, it's a different game."
Iowa did fight back in the second half. After trailing 47-29 with 10:42 left, the Hawkeyes trimmed their deficit to 10 points twice inside the final three minutes. But Indiana scored on four of its final five possessions including on its only two 3-pointers to prevent Iowa from breaking into single digits.
"If you think about it, if I said to you, we come on the road and we're going to turn it over 14 times, get out-rebounded and score 14 points in the first half, we think it's going to be a blowout," McCaffery said. "We were right there. That shows you what this team's capable of.
"When we made our runs, they answered our runs. Which what you'd expect a really good team to do."
Iowa committed a season-high 27 fouls and Indiana shot 29-of-42 from the free-throw line, the most free-throw attempts against Iowa this season. The previous high was 30 against Virginia Tech. Iowa had 15 fouls in the second half and 12 in the first half, including a McCaffery technical.
"It was one of those games where it was pretty physical so they were calling a lot of fouls," McCaffery said. "I thought rightfully so on both ends. I thought they called a good game that way."
Cody Zeller scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Indiana. Teammate Yogi Ferrell added 19.
Iowa now is now 2-20 all-time against top-ranked teams.