Iowa men’s basketball pulls off comeback win over No. 15 Indiana

Stellar performances from Kris Murray, Connor McCaffery, and Filip Rebraca gave the Hawkeyes their first Big Ten win of the season.


Matt Sindt

Iowa forward Kris Murray scores during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Indiana at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Thursday, Jan. 05, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers, 91-89.

Sam Knupp, Sports Reporter

The Iowa men’s basketball team picked up a dramatic upset win, 91-89, against No. 15 Indiana on Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hoosiers came out of the locker room hot and put up 28 points in the first seven minutes of action. Indiana had a 21-point lead at the 13:32 mark.

Just under a minute-and-a-half later, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery picked up a technical foul, and it seemed to work in Iowa’s favor. The Hawkeyes cut the Hoosiers’ lead to five with just under a minute to go in the first half.

“We all looked each other in the eyes during a timeout and said, this can’t fly no more,” senior forward Filip Rebraca said.

Iowa came out in the second half firing, going on an 11-0 run to climb within a point with 13:35 left.

Exactly two minutes later, Iowa took the lead on a Rebraca fast-break layup.

The Hawkeyes ran step for step with the Hoosiers for the rest of the game, trading the lead until the final seconds. 

Iowa had an 87-85 lead with 53.7 seconds left when Rebraca fouled out on a controversial call, putting Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who led the Hoosiers with 30 points, at the line for a one-and-one.

McCaffery was livid with the call, moving well past half-court to argue with the referees. It looked like McCaffery was T’d up for a second time, but the second technical was then rescinded and McCaffery was not kicked out of the game.

Indiana head coach Mike Woodson expressed his displeasure with the lack of a second technical after the game.

“That’s b –s–,” Woodson said. “When you allow coaches to come across half-court into your space, that’s b—s—.”

Woodson said the referee initially gave McCaffery a technical.

“He did call a technical and he pulled it back, which is b—s—,” Woodson said. “The guy should’ve been thrown out of the goddamn game.”

Following the kerfuffle, Jackson-Davis went to the line for his free throws. The senior made the first, but missed the second, cutting the Hawkeyes’ lead to one.

Despite Rebraca fouling out and missing a key starter in Patrick McCaffery, Iowa rode it out for a 91-89 upset win.

RELATED: Teammates, coaches support Iowa men’s basketball player Patrick McCaffery as he battles anxiety issues

Connor McCaffery fills in well for Patrick

Patrick McCaffery announced he would take an indefinite leave of absence on Tuesday, meaning his brother Connor would fill in for his starting role.

Connor stepped up to the challenge with 16 points, going 4-for-9 from the floor with three assists and a turnover.

Patrick is still with the team and was on the bench in a gray sweatshirt on Thursday.

Kris Murray records second 30-point game of season

Kris Murray lit up the scoreboard on Thursday, playing all 40 minutes with 30 points, 10 rebounds, and just one turnover.

Murray shot 11-for-18, making 3 of 6 threes.

“It’s tough playing 40 minutes like that, but I knew my team needed me to do it,” Murray said. “I just had to find it within myself to do it.”

Big picture

The win moves the Hawkeyes to 9-6 on the season, as they get their first conference win of the season to move to 1-3. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak. 

“It shows us that we can play with the best teams in this country,” Rebraca said. “Even though we were 0-3 [in conference play] we beat a really good team and now we understand that we can play with anyone. So going forward, this is like a standard that we have to come in with every day.”

Up next

Iowa will travel to Piscataway to take on Rutgers on Saturday. Rutgers sits at 11-4 on the year and most recently took down Maryland in a convincing 14-point win.