Basketball searching for more after Indiana loss


David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

Iowa forward Tyler Cook reacts after the final buzzer against Indiana University at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. The Hoosiers defeated the Hawkeyes 84 to 82. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Adam Hensley, [email protected]

Iowa basketball’s loss to Indiana on Feb. 17 came down to the final possession.

Maishe Dailey caught the inbounds pass and drove baseline. Indiana met him with two defenders, so he kicked the ball out to Jordan Bohannon, who stood outside the 3-point arc.

Bohannon put up a contested jumper with just under five seconds left. His jumper bounced off the rim and into Tyler Cook’s hands. Cook corralled the ball with 2.2 seconds remaining, and he quickly put up a shot that hit the backboard — no rim — at the horn.

“We shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place,” Luka Garza said.

That final play sucked the life out of the Hawkeyes, leaving them dejected and stunned. Nicholas Baer sat down on the 3-point line. Cook bent over, not moving from his stance for a moment.

Iowa hit its first 10 shots against Indiana. It was rolling early, firing away at a pace Indiana head coach Archie Miller hadn’t seen out of any opponent before his first trip to Carver-Hawkeye.

At that point, Miller said, he was thinking his Hoosier squad was in “big trouble.”

“[Iowa] shot 71 percent in the first half,” Miller said. “We couldn’t shoot 71 percent in shoot around. But it was a forceful way they were playing. They manhandled us around the rim in the first four minutes.”

For most of the game, the post duo of Cook and Garza had its way with the Hoosiers in the paint. In the first half alone, Cook scored 15, and Garza added 11; the two big men combined to shoot 11-for-13 from the field.

RELATED: Indiana tops Iowa in second-half thriller

But Iowa’s once-13-point lead dwindled to 3 points at halftime, and the Hawkeyes trailed by 13 points — a 26-point swing — in the second half.

Plain and simple, Iowa’s once-dominant momentum turned into an uphill climb.

“I thought we got a lead, and we got content to trade,” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “We didn’t extend it.”

Iowa had no way of stopping Indiana’s Robert Johnson, who drained nine of his 12 3-point attempts — something that was “extremely frustrating” to McCaffery.

It’s the same story all season; Iowa’s perimeter defense couldn’t contain the Hoosiers’ 3-point attack, and it came back to haunt the Hawkeyes. Johnson made 3-pointers on back-to-back-to-back possessions in the second half.

If Iowa closed out and forced Johnson to miss, the Hawkeyes might have notched their fourth conference win of the season.

The what-if game doesn’t amount to anything, though.

Instead, the Hawkeyes find themselves as losers of five straight and in last place in the Big Ten standings. Two of the past four games have been decided by 3 points or fewer, as Iowa had plenty of chances to take control against Michigan State on Feb. 6 and Indiana.

But with two games remaining in the regular season, Iowa can’t rewrite the past.

“It’s frustrating when you have an opportunity to [win], and we couldn’t put them away,” Garza said.

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