Kriener, Evelyn, Till to be recognized ahead of Purdue game

Iowa will recognize Ryan Kriener, Bakari Evelyn, and Riley Till before the Hawkeyes take on Purdue at Carver-Hawkeye Arena tonight.


Nichole Harris

Penn State guards Seth Lundy and Curtis Jones Jr. fight Iowa forward Ryan Kriener for a rebound during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Penn State on Saturday, Feb. 29 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions 77-68.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

Ryan Kriener and Bakari Evelyn have been through very different careers at Iowa.

Kriener has been in the Hawkeye basketball program for four years, coming off the bench and finding himself in the starting lineup at different times throughout his career.

The first graduate transfer in Fran McCaffery’s time at Iowa, Evelyn has taken up a veteran presence in the Hawkeye backcourt for one season.

No matter how different things have been for the two, they — along with junior Riley Till — will be honored for Senior Night before Iowa’s matchup with Purdue tonight.

Still, the focus remains on the Boilermakers.

“The opportunity that I’ve had means a lot to me,” Kriener said. “I just kind of want to get through it, reminisce on it later. I don’t want to be overly emotional for game day.”

That’s what happens after a team gets clobbered by 36 and gives up over 100 points to a program it has to face once more. Revenge becomes important.

Evelyn wants to avenge his losses to the Boilermakers as well.

The Detroit, Michigan, native has lost to Purdue four times in his career without a win — twice as a member of the Nebraska basketball program in 2015-16, once when he was on Valparaiso in 2017-18, and once earlier this season.

Evelyn arrived at Iowa hoping to find the right situation for his final season of college basketball. While there have been bumps in the road, he said he’s happy with how things have turned out.

And things will be even better for him if he can finally top the Boilermakers.

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“I knew I wanted to be a part of a winning program,” Evelyn said. “I wanted a shot to get to the NCAA Tournament. I wanted to come in to a team that I thought could be successful and contribute in ways just to help the team win. Lastly, I wanted to be a part of a school and institution where I could look back on my year there and be a proud alumni, be proud to represent and put on that jersey.”

Till has also played an important role for Iowa. Although this season marks his first on scholarship and he has only played in 15 of Iowa’s 29 games, he’s become a leader.

He’s still a junior, but McCaffery said he thinks Till will make a decision on whether to play and potentially transfer next season or enter the workforce after graduating in May.

“Character guy, terrific team player,” McCaffery said. “I have the utmost respect for him and his commitment to his teammates, to the program. So, we’ll support him either way. If he wants to play another year, we’ll help get him placed. If he doesn’t, we’ll do whatever we can to help him in whatever area that he wants to go into.”

The trio will have one final chance to pick up a victory in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

This time, Purdue will be without its strong home-court advantage in Mackey Arena. If Iowa can find out how to stop its changing lineup, it has a better shot at pulling off a win playing at a place it holds a 14-1 record at.

“Nothing has changed in terms of how they play,” McCaffery said. “They’re going to really defend, and they’ve got a lot of different guys that are dangerous. They have changed their starting lineup a few times in the last few games. That almost doesn’t matter because all those guys are going to play anyway.”