Iowa rebounds after ’embarrassing’ loss to Purdue

After losing to Nebraska earlier in the season and dropping a game in embarrassing fashion to Purdue, the Hawkeyes came ready to play on Saturday.

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Iowa rebounds after ’embarrassing’ loss to Purdue

Robert Read, Sports Editor

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Iowa lost by 36 points the last time it took the court against Purdue. Hawkeye fans were upset, and so was Fred Hoiberg.

The former Iowa State head coach and current leader of the Nebraska men’s basketball program knew the type of attitude the Hawkeyes were going to play with following a performance like that.

“I didn’t like that,” Hoiberg said. “I knew they’d come out with some fire.”

That the Hawkeyes did.

After trailing 17-2 to Purdue before the fans were even settled in their seats, Iowa came out and did the same thing to Nebraska on Saturday.

Through five minutes of game time, Iowa held a 21-5 lead.

“It was all aggression and staying very focused, a locked in type of mindset,” Iowa guard Connor McCaffery said. “That was something that we talked about in practice the previous two days. That was something we wanted to carry in, we really wanted to get off to a good start. We wanted to jump out ahead and get to business.”

Despite an eight minute scoreless stretch in the first half by Iowa, Nebraska never threatened to take over the game.

Joe Wieskamp scored a career-high 30 points and Luka Garza followed suit with 22 of his own.

The Hawkeyes led by 11 points at the half, and by the end of the night extended that to a 24-point victory.

Recovering from a loss as ugly as Iowa’s to Purdue is never a certainty, even against a team as poor as Nebraska. The Hawkeyes came into Carver-Hawkeye Arena ready to move on from the loss to the Boilermakers.

“I would have been very surprised if we hadn’t,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “I could see it in the locker room after the [Purdue] game. Obviously not happy with the performance, the effort, the execution. Pretty much everything.”

“They were locked in [in practice], as you would have expected them to be. Both in film sessions and in practice. We worked on a couple things and it was no nonsense.”

Bouncing back after the loss to Purdue wasn’t Iowa’s only motivation on Saturday.

The Cornhuskers are only 2-10 in conference play this season. One of those victories was Jan. 7 against the Hawkeyes in Lincoln.

“We were frustrated from the last time we lost to Nebraska,” Wieskamp said. “We feel that we are a much better team than them. Obviously with our embarrassing performance last time out against Purdue, we wanted to come out and make a statement tonight.”

This year’s Iowa team has overcome just about every obstacle that’s been thrown at it. One bad loss wasn’t going to be enough to shake this group.

Not even close.

“It’s tough when you have a loss like that, but the only thing you can do is just come back and try to get better the next day,” Garza said. “That’s what we did. I’m really proud of this group for regrouping after the loss, recognizing that it wasn’t like us, and coming back out here and making a statement.”

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