IOWA CITY — It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. And after last Saturday’s collapse, that’s enough for now for the Iowa basketball team.
The Hawkeyes slugged through a porous first-half shooting performance to batter Purdue 58-48 tonight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa (18-10, 7-8 Big Ten) didn’t score a field goal for the last 12 minutes, 38 seconds of the first half and shot just 21.4 percent from the field. But Iowa kept the halftime lead at 23-16, primarily because of its defense.
“We played phenomenal defense the entire game,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We had opportunities in that stretch, we had some clean looks at it. We were still running. we got the ball to the right people. We didn’t make them.”
“I think we played really well defensively,” Iowa guard Devyn Marble said. “We out-rebounded them, so we did a good job.”
Purdue (13-15, 6-9 Big Ten) struggled equally from the field in the first half, shooting just 30.4 percent. But Iowa was able to get to the free-throw line before halftime and made 9 of 12. Purdue, on the other hand, hit just 2 of 2 from the line.
The offenses loosened up in the second half, and Iowa struck first with a 7-0 run to go up 30-18. Marble, who slid to the point and replaced injured Mike Gesell, scored the run’s first five points on a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer.
Marble finished with 18 points and dished four assists and grabbed three rebounds.
“He was great,” McCaffery said. “I think he really enjoys having the ball in his hands. You could tell that he was really comfortable.”
“I made an effort to really get everybody on the floor going, just probing, seeing things,” Marble said. “Then I looked to be aggressive late and close the game out.”
Gesell suffered a right foot injury that had built throughout the season. He’s out for about two weeks but McCaffery said he should return in time for the Big Ten Tournament. Guard Josh Oglesby replaced Gesell in the starting lineup.
Iowa led by 14 points midway through the second half, but Purdue cut the deficit to six on Donnie Hale’s basket with 2:15 left. Then Oglesby, who missed his previous four shots, drained a 3-pointer with 1:41 left to push Iowa’s lead back up to nine points.
“It shows coach McCaffery has confidence in me,” Oglesby said. “He went to a play for me with a minute and something left. It just felt good that it went in.”
Aaron White also scored 18 points for Iowa and also grabbed nine rebounds, including three offensive boards. He was 11 of 14 from the free-throw line.
The win was big for Iowa after falling apart on Saturday at Nebraska. The Hawkeyes led by 19 points late in the first half only to collapse in a four-point loss.
Purdue had won 11 of the last 12 in the series and the last three. Now Iowa has to play Saturday at No. 1 Indiana, which was upset Tuesday night at Minnesota.
“Every game’s a big game now,” Marble said. “We take them a game at a time. This is important, especially coming off that tough loss the other day. This was a big one for our confidence and going into the next one, the outfit that we have to go to.”
Purdue’s 48 points were its fewest against Iowa since 1983.