A win is a win: Indiana fends off Iowa 73-60

USA TODAY Sports

The Hoosiers solidify their Big Ten lead with an ugly-shooting, whistle-filled home victory over Iowa.

The nice thing about this aesthetically displeasing affair was that despite both teams combining for a 1-for-25 performance (4% shooting! Four!) on three-pointers until the final minute, and 52 combined whistles (which is an average of every 40 seconds: great way to get a flow going) despite Iowa not fouling in the final minutes, was that the Hoosiers toughed through a rough game against a solid opponent without the outcome ever being terribly in doubt. And frankly, if you watch just the highlights, you'd think the game story was that the Hoosiers put effort to grind it out and executed with some solid passing and emphatic finishing. And not that this wasn't also true, but the Hawkeyes came to play hard against the Hoosiers, and acquitted themselves reasonably well (aside from scoring only 14 points in the first half). My back-of-the-napkin numbers on the four factors show a fairly evenly matched event with two exceptions:

Effective Field Goal %:
Indiana: 42.6%
Iowa: 40.0%

Off Rebound %
Indiana: 41.7%
Iowa: 43.6%

Turnover %
Indiana: 16.9%
Iowa: 27.9%

Free-Throw Rate:
Indiana: 77.8%
Iowa: 43.6%

As you can see, the teams were fairly even on shooting and rebounding, but Iowa turned it over a bunch (them not having starting point guard Mike Gesell had to contribute here) and Indiana shot a lot of free-throws. IU shot 42 frees on 27 Hawkeye fouls despite, as I said Iowa not fouling intentionally at the end of the game, and while Iowa shot 24 attempts on 25 Indiana fouls. Iowa posted a respectable free-throw rate on the road, but IU's rate is pretty insane, actually.

Player Bullets:

  • Cody Zeller seems to be putting together a very nice body of work. He came back nicely from a tough game in Minnesota to post 22 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals. He did have three turnovers and missed five free throws, but he was a rock on both sides of the floor for the Hoosiers tonight.
  • Yogi Ferrell posted a very nice performance: 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting (8-of-10 from the stripe) and notched 5 assists along with a block and a steal against only one turnover. This was very timely as:
  • The seniors struggled. Jordan Hulls went 0-for-7 (he has missed all 17 field-goal attempts against Iowa this season!) and Christian Watford went 0-for-8 from the floor. Derek Elston ended up being the leading scorer of the seniors with 5 points (Maurice Creek missed his only attempt) by shooting 2-for-4 on twos and 1-for-2 from the line. It was n ice to see him get that dunk off Yogi's slick assist. The upside to Watford's performance was that he helped out in other ways: 5 rebounds, 2 steals, a block, and no turnovers.
  • Victor Oladipo had a pretty decent night: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and a block, but he turned the ball over four times and had no assists. He did, however, hit the only three he took.
  • Outside of Will Sheehey (8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), the bench didn't contribute too much, but they also didn't really hurt, shooting about the same rate as the starters and really not turning ball over (Elston did have one).
  • It's hard to pick out a singular performance from the Iowa players, as senior Eric May continued his senior revival off the bench with 12 points and 7 rebounds, and Roy Devyn Marble hit 20 points. But I like the way Aaron White is putting together rebounds, blocks and steals. I think White has got the potential to put together an Oladipo-like year, if he gets the right blend of talent around him, and refines his offensive game a little.

At the end of the day, the Hoosiers salted away a much needed win for conference supremacy, and as many others have commented, became the sixth Indiana team to reach 25 wins in the regular season. The Hoosiers have to fend off Ohio State at home on Tuesday (shooting better from three in that one would certainly help) before traveling to Ann Arbor for a final showdown with Michigan. The Buckeyes are definitely playing better, and although Indiana's defense seems solid, it should be a good match for senior night.

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