Iowa men’s basketball unable to overcome early deficit against Purdue

The Hawkeyes fell, 83-73, in a physical game against the No. 6 team in the country


Grace Smith

Iowa forward Kris Murray walks off the court after fouling out during a basketball game between Iowa and No. 6 Purdue at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. The Boilermakers defeated the Hawkeyes, 83-73. Murray played a total of 24 minutes and 16 seconds before receiving his fifth foul taking him out of the game.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

After forcing a turnover on Purdue’s Trevion Williams, the Iowa men’s basketball team looked to seize the moment. Kris Murray got open and knocked down a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, sending Carver-Hawkeye Arena into a frenzy. Iowa had cut the deficit down to four points midway through the second half after trailing by as many as 18, and Iowa looked poise to take the lead.

On the next possession however, Purdue’s Jaden Ivey knocked down a 3-pointer of his own and quieted the crowd.

It was the theme of the game for Purdue. Whenever the Hawkeyes managed to find their way within striking distance, Purdue answered with a bucket of their own in an 83-73 Boilermaker victory.

“They have a lot of good shooters on their team and they made a lot of shots in the second half,” sophomore forward Keegan Murray said. “We tried to fight our way back into the game, but we didn’t get the stops we needed.”

Ivey was responsible for a few of those, while Williams managed to get open inside for a few baskets of his own. 

Iowa impressively got back into the game after a slow start. The Boilermakers seemed to have a lock on the game with an 18-point lead early into the second half, but an 18-4 run in the early portion of the second half got Iowa within touching distance. Iowa could not keep its momentum flowing, and Purdue grew its lead to double digits to win comfortably by 10. 

Big Picture

Iowa falls back below .500 in conference play and sits in ninth place in the standings. The Hawkeyes are now 14-6 on the year. 

Fighting through Foul Trouble

Between both teams, there were 37 fouls committed throughout the game. Much like the first matchup with Purdue, this turned the game into an important chess match for both coaches to ensure their players could remain eligible for the entire game. Purdue’s tandem of Williams and Zach Edey caused Iowa issues in the first half. The two combined for 14 points and were essential in stopping Iowa from getting to the basket. In the second half, both players hit three fouls, forcing them to sit and causing Iowa to find a way back into the game.

“The way we attacked their defense in the second half is the only way you can beat them,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. 

On the flip side, Keegan Murray had to sit for the last 12 minutes of the first half after picking up two early fouls. His brother Kris played a lot of minutes as a result. 

Although Kris ended up fouling out, he avoided getting close to fouling out as Iowa crept back into the game, and provided a spark for the Hawkeyes in Keegan’s absence. 

Kris Murray’s Big Game

With Keegan Murray in foul trouble, Kris stepped in and gave his brother some relief. Murray finished with 23 points and knocked down a pair of crucial 3s to get Iowa within touching distance of Purdue. 

After struggling with just six points in the first half, Murray managed to get to the free-throw line and draw fouls. He went 7-of-7 from the stripe in the second half while adding 10 more points from the floor. Murray saw a minutes increase because of his hot play, but also because starting post player Filip Rebraca tweaked his ankle injury, Fran McCaffery said.

His 23 points were his second highest total of the season. He continues to be a reliable option off the bench when Keegan or any of the other post player need a rest. 

“My confidence has been rising this whole season, and it is at its peak right now,” Kris Murray said. 

What’s Next

Iowa will face Penn State for the second time in just over a week on Monday, this time in University Park. That game tips off at 6 p.m. and will be televised on BTN.