Iowa men’s basketball falls to top-ranked Purdue on the road

The Hawkeyes dropped to 7-6 in conference play after a 87-73 loss to the No. 1 Boilermakers on Thursday evening.


Matt Sindt

Iowa guard Connor McCaffery moves with the ball during a basketball game between Iowa and Georgia Tech at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Yellow Jackets, 81-65.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter

Iowa men’s basketball fell to No. 1 Purdue, 87-73, on Thursday evening in West Lafayette. 

Early in the contest, the Hawkeyes fell to a 19-4 deficit they would never overcome. Iowa was just 1-for-10 behind the arc and 29 percent from the field in the first half with a handful of airballs, and Purdue carried a 17-point lead into the halftime break.

But the Hawkeyes stormed back in the second half to make the contest competitive. After senior center Filip Rebraca made a jumper with 5:39 remaining, Iowa managed to chisel the Purdue lead down to just six points.

After the late Iowa surge, the Boilermakers pulled away once again with a series of buckets and free throws sparked by Purdue’s 7-foot-4 big man Zach Edey. 

Edey finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds, earning his 20th double-double of the season. 

A standout night from Boilermakers guard Braden Smith further stifled the Hawkeyes’ comeback effort. The freshman poured in a career-best 24 points on 80 percent shooting from the field.

Rebraca and junior forward Kris Murray were the lone Hawkeyes to finish in double-digit scoring. Murray tallied 24 points on 10-for-16 shooting, while Rebraca converted eight of his 12 attempts en route to 17 points.

Juniors Patrick McCaffery and Tony Perkins pitched in nine and eight points, respectively.

The Hawkeyes’ loss drops their record to 15-9 overall and 7-6 in the Big Ten this season.

Hawkeyes’ press defense impresses

Although Iowa gave up 87 points, the Hawkeyes’ defensive woes stemmed primarily from half-court defense — their full-court pressure caused problems for Purdue in the second half.

The Hawkeyes forced 17 turnovers in the contest, including 12 after the halftime break, with 11 team steals. Several of the Boilermakers’ turnovers came in the form of ten-second calls caused by the Iowa press, typically headed by 6-foot-9 McCaffery.

McCaffery secured a season-high five steals in the contest.

Connor McCaffery’s performance a mixed bag

Senior Connor McCaffery had a conflicting performance at Mackey Arena. The 6-foot-6 sixth man shot 1-for-6 from the field and chucked up three airballs through 31 minutes of play, recording a -15 plus/minus score.

On the other hand, Connor McCaffery dished out eight assists and recorded three steals on the evening. He leads the team in assists and steals per game this season.

Connor McCaffery’s shooting performance is an outlier as he is shooting career-best percentages across the board this year, including 36.6 percent from behind the arc.

Up next

The Hawkeyes will travel to Minneapolis to face off against Minnesota on Sunday at noon. The Gophers are dead last in the conference standings with a 1-11 record this season.

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