Indiana falters at Iowa, 78-66

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Indiana followed the three-game winning that gave it 20 wins for the first time since 2008 and likely made it a lock for the NCAA Tournament with what was arguably it’s worst performance of the season.

Against an Iowa team they dominated in Bloomington, the No. 18 Hoosiers came out flat and frazzled, falling behind by as many as 14 points in the first half and never coming within 10 points in the second half. Iowa senior guard Matt Gatens scored 30 points to lead the Hawkeyes to a 78-66 win over the Hoosiers in front of 13,282 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hoosiers struggled to handled Iowa’s pressure, committing 14 turnovers including nine in the first half. They struggled to score in the paint, losing the scoring battle 24-22 there thanks in large part to five blocks by Iowa’s Melsahn Basabe. They got a combined three points on 1-for-12 shooting from veterans Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls and Verdell Jones and looked nothing like the team that beat the Hawkeyes 103-89 in Bloomington. 

“Our first disappointment was the way we attacked pressure, but the overall disappointment in the game is the way we didn’t rebound and block out the way that we needed to,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “That’s where you establish the tempo of the game. We knew we’d be pressed. We knew they were gonna be aggressive on the glass. We didn’t answer that bell.”

Or really, any bell at all.

The Hoosiers took an 8-4 lead to start the game, but Iowa took it for good when Gatens was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws, then freshman guard Josh Oglesby knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 10-8. From there, the Hoosiers continued to find creative ways to give the ball back against Iowa pressure and even in the half court, and simply seemed to have less energy than the Hawkeyes.

“We came out slow,” sophomore guard Victor Oladipo said. “I kind of blame it on myself big time. I felt as though I had the opportunity to take leadership of this team. I didn’t do that tonight. It’s time for me to step up as a leader and as a player as well. I didn’t do that tonight. We didn’t read screens well down the stretch. We came out slow. Dumb fouls. Especially myself. … It just felt like there was a spark missing.”

Iowa went up 37-26 at halftime. The Hoosiers slowly chipped away until it was 52-42, but it was at that point that Gatens went off. The Hoosiers were continually lost on and in over-help situations, allowing him shots that were staggeringly wide-open considering the roll he was on. He finished 10-for-18 from the field, 7-for-10 from beyond the arc. He made eight of his last nine field goal attempts and hit four 3’s between the 7:21 mark and the 4:35 mark to seal the victory.

“Your confidence is sky-high,” Gatens said. “You feel like you get a little bit of room, it’s going off and it’s going in. You feel like every single one’s going in.”

The Hawkeyes also got 13 points, seven rebounds and five blocks from sophomore forward Melsahn Basabe, 11 points from Oglesby and 10 points, seven assists from sophomore guard Roy Devyn Marble.

Freshman forward Cody Zeller had 15 points and 13 rebounds, but was 5-for-12 from the field and had to work hard to get anything from Basabe. Oladipo had 15 points, but was 4-for-12 from the field and played just 23 minutes because of foul trouble. Junior forward Derek Elston scored 13 points and senior guard Matt Roth had 12 on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting night from beyond the arc, but the Hoosiers didn’t get much else. Watford, Hulls, Jones and sophomore guard Sheehey were a combined 3-for-19 for 10 points.

“We hit a little inconsistency today, and we’ve gotta get that back,” Crean said. “… We just didn’t attack pressure. We were straight-legged. We didn’t attack pressure the right way. We didn’t attack pressure the right way. We didn’t work for the opening that we’d worked and prepared for. That’s where the disappointing thing is on the day. It would be different if it was something we hadn’t worked towards. But there’s places we attack and there’s places we don’t. We start trying to hit it in areas that we knew they would take away.”

AUDIO: Fran McCaffrey

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Matt Roth

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls

AUDIO: Victor Oladipo

AUDIO: Matt Gatens


  1. If we could get one good think out of this, I’d like it to be someone explaining to Victor that the reason he is so open to take three point shots is because that is the opponents optimum outcome of an IU possession.

    Victor is one of my favorite players, but a three point shooter he is not.

  2. When 2 of your “best” experienced players are soft and don’t have the ‘edge’ to compete hard every game you aren’t going to win a lot of games on the road. JonesIII and Watford are a lot like Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims were at Michigan, talented players, but the program improved on their departures. Hulls also shrinks on the road, Hulls/Jones/Watford 65 minutes, 3 total points….lame.

  3. OK let’s just be real here we stunk it up something awful. My ol buddy Harvard is not going to like this but Watford was horriawful!! Fab5 you said it best soft. After driving my cousin home after the game I was listening to College insider on serius radio and they said “Lets face it IU is just a soft team” That stung!! I know we can battle why we chose not to I just don’t understand! Even coach said he knew what was coming and we could not stop it! I honestly thought we were past this nonsense. This is a weak Iowa team and they drilled us. Shot open 3’s all night and did as they pleased in the post. CTC should have pulled a Knight and brought in the jv. This was a humiliating loss that will surely knock us out of the top 25 and im sure the bubble rumors will start. I really want CTC to get coach of the year but when you get drummed by Iowa and prove you can’t beat the bottom of the conference teams on the road it will be hard for him to get. The blue prints out. If IU is on the road get physical with them and game over. I really thought we were past that!!

  4. I actually felt like the win over Iowa at home had a tinge of fools gold to it. Why? Although we got whatever we wanted on offense, usually at the rim, we offered little resistance on D as the game wore on. They started to break us down on penetration and offensive putbacks. So, you know if they tightened up on D, they had the ability to dominate us inside and get open looks. I was not expecting a sweep of our remaining B1G games by any stretch of the imagination. I would have liked to seen, however, development in some consistency in competing in tough games/road games. We obviously had not clue how to attack the zone and I really appreciated Marble’s length on Hulls for stretches of the game – nice tactical move there. Our coaching needs to take some responsibility for this loss in addition to the our vet players…who are no doubt finesse players.

  5. Pathetic loss with 1 bright side…..potentially.

    NCC comes in & Id sit Watford & Jones all night. That’s just me G a million others thinking the same thing.

    The supposed veteran leaders my a$$.

  6. It was no doubt a clunker. On the other hand, look at this season, and this four year project on the whole. I’ve been fortunate enough to have season tickets for the whole time and the progress is amazing. I realize that expectations continue to grow, but let’s appreciate the success we’ve had too. Not quite time to burn the ship or throw any of the hands off just yet…

  7. This team right now is bipolar. At home they are a physical team that can bang and push with anyone in the nation, but away from Assembly Hall they are the softest team in the nation. They looked absolutely scared and intimidated in that game yesterday. I don’t care if it is Iowa, OSU, or the School for the Blind you come out and punch the other team in the nose right out of the gate and there won’t be a problem. This team doesn’t do that on the road and I am not sure if they will this year. Stop believing your own press, boys! You aren’t that good yet, but you have potential and the definition of potential is that you aren’t were a s**t right now.

  8. The toughest they played all year was on the road at Mackey. I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s a chemistry thing. There is a force that slows this running team to a crawl and I think everyone knows what that force is.

  9. IU is not on the bubble as PUke is but if we continue to play 3 on 7 ball the rest of the season we will be. Jones plays 1 good offensive game out of 7 and Watford is not much better at 2 out of 7. Transfer Watford and Jones to West Laffy as I understand they are short a couple of players up there.

  10. This rotten egg has the same smell as the Minnesota game. The physical nature of last nights game made Indiana look weak, not tough and a bunch of whiners. We simply did not take it to them, they took it to us and we were soft. This team has had some great success but seems to take some of the lessor teams for granted. Hard for me to imagine how this team can take anyone for granted. Still a good season, at least better than I expected. But – these type of losses have really taken the edge off what could have been a really good season, perhaps even a great season.

  11. Just a suggestion for Wed. night the starting line up should look this: Moore, Pritchard, Abell, Ethridge, and Roth. Let the rest sit on the pine, and leave them there to pick splinter out of their butts. Watford wouldn’t even need to put sweats on cause there is no way he needs to see floor time till he proves he has a desire to play.

  12. When IU went up early at 8-5 I thought we might get going in the right direction. However, when Iowa came out whacked IU right in the face and IU just stood there without any response I knew then we were in for a long night. I don’t get why you cannot compete on the road. I’d pull a Norman Dale and hoist Ollie up to measure the height of the rim and then have Buddy measure the length of the foul line to the rim. For Gosh sakes, if Hickory can grow a pair why can’t this year’s Hoosiers do it.

  13. Losing Jones will be addition by subtraction. Pretty much the same for Watford and Hulls,who has disinterated. We have the worst guards in the B1G and other coaches know it.Wat ford is just soft. CTC is not a great game coach and he talks to much-remember he recently said how much improved that IU was now.

  14. A bad patch in a good year. Hulls gets two fouls early and things unravel from there. I was hoping they could steal one of these last two road games because Michigan State is coming to town. This team is much improved but still needs to learn how to win the games that are winable, even if it is a road game.

  15. RAM, I agree, with JH having to go to the bench early it gave VJ the notion he would have to save the day. I still am having a hard time understanding how the Hawkeyes played such an outstanding, physical game and only scored 78 in a W on their court vs. 89 in a loss on ours. It was a much faster game at AH.

  16. My opinion is that this IU team does not have the mental toughness or the maturity to play well on the road. I thought the win at Purdue was a sign that they were making strides in that regard, but this loss to Iowa shows the win at Purdue was an anomaly.

    Everyone knows it’s tough to win on the road in the Big Ten, but the disparity between IU’s win at home and this loss at Iowa demonstrates that they have not made much progress in that area. They’re not getting the leadership from the upperclassman. In fact, a couple of their upperclassmen seem to be the problem when on the road.

    IU did not just lose to Iowa by 12 points, they were never really in the game yesterday. And CZ, who has quietly given them a boost game after game this season, was not up to the task yesterday. Maybe he’s getting a little tired of carrying a couple of his upperclass teammates on his back.

  17. Didn’t Iowa kick the crap out of Michigan at home? Then Michigan goes on to win a squeaker at PUke, beat MSU and OSU. We had a bad game and Iowa took full advantage of it. Move on and get ready for the next game. We still have a chance to win 23 or 24 games, and that is about 6 or 7 games above my expectation. How we respond against Minny will determine (for me at least) what kind of guts we have. We played like this against Michigan and look how we bounced back at PUke…

  18. Oh yeah…and how bout the baseball Hoosiers opening up their 1st weekend series 2-1? When do we get some news about those 3 games? Season preview for the baseball team as well?

  19. very dissapointing. I meant to go on a tirade after the Northwestern game, now I wish I had cuz’ I’d look like a profit!! I was then, an obviously still, puzzled by a lot of our guys obvious lack of motivation. It’s as simple as that. You would think that after 3 straight 20 loss seasons these guys would be STARVING for wins. ANY win, I know I am. Every game is an opportunity to make things right after 3 miserable years, and they’re GOLDEN opportunities when you know that you have the talent to pull these games out if you execute. Puzzlingly, however, for some reason we have some guys that just don’t seem to feel the same way. Coaches talk about “energy” all of time. Energy is sononomous with “effort”, & “hustle”. When people play with a lot of energy, it comes from the mind. You’ve gotta’ want it, it’s not rocket science. I don’t k ow what bothers me more: our players lethargy, or our coaches acceptance of it &(lack of affective) reacction to it. It bothers me that I(we)want to win more than some of our players seem to want to.

  20. If this team does not get some leaders and learn to win on the road it wont challenge for anything in the next few years. You probably have to go like 6-3 on the road to have a shot at the big ten title.

  21. How are some people already measuring this season up as “good” or “not where I was hoping it would be” when it has not even ended yet? If I am not mistaken, there are four regular season games, at least one Big Ten game, and then at least one NCAA tourney/NIT game remaining.

    For all of you awesome prognosticators out there, tell me what your preseason record was for this team. I will tell you mine: 17-14 (7-11 Big Ten), w/0 wins against Kentucky, OSU, Michigan, and MSU. I now see 22-9 (10-8 Big Ten), w/wins against #1 UK and #2 OSU, and an NCAA tournament bid. This team has far exceeded my expectations.

    Zoom out from this ugly loss at Iowa and keep the entire season in perspective.

  22. For all of you awesome prognosticators out there, tell me what your preseason record was for this team.


    This is where you come in.

    Hulls? Are we Hulls bashing once again? He’ll come through in the next weeks. He’ll prove his value and be clutch in the NCAA. Here’s my “Drama Queen” song for Jordy in March.

  23. Harvard, I read this board more than I post. I am well aware of your preseason prediction. Furthermore, I do not take you for Chicken Little. I want to know what the haters had for a prediction.

  24. Hoopsta! Why we got no Hoopsta penetration onto this thread? Sounds like a good hater thread if you ask me. Here’s Rick Majerus explaining strategy for dating hoosierfaninky’s cousin karen.

    Is it just me or does Cody appear to be morphing into Uwe Blab? Wow..Branden Dawson is sure coming along…The kid looks like he’s going to be the next D-Wade. Why did Crean pass on the next D-Wade? Why don’t we recruit from NW Indiana anymore? So many questions…So few answers.

  25. it absolutely doesn’t matter what anyone “prognosticated” about this team. What matters is: are they cdapable of playing better than the way they have recently? I think there’s no question that the answer is yes, regardless of wht people thought they would do, just because they have exceeded expectations means it’s okay for them to play poorly We should just “be happy” with what we’ve gotten and shut up? No freakin’ way man!

  26. Chris… No one is happy with how the team played the other night. But you are just choosing some odd timing or choice of words to voice your opinion.

    “recently”… Well recently they have won 3 out of 4 games including @ Mackey, against another rival in Illinois, and showed great poise in pulling out the NW game. It was a stretch that most here agreed was some very impressive basketball.

    Now if by recently you mean the B1G season, well… It’s the B1G, the best conference in America.

    this is a team that has no history of success. Sure they are capable of playing harder, better, and more consistent, but those are things that teams learn through experiences like this. For the 173rd time teams have to have had success to know how to handle it.

    I don’t have any issue with people expecting more from this team, they just have to show some basic understanding of the circumstances surrounding the history of this group of players.

    I think it’s a giant leap to believe that you care more about the wins or losses than the players or coaches. And I believe it’s quite a stretch to think that coaches accept a lack of effort.

  27. Jeff (since clearly this is the correct way to spell your name), if you use facts and logic in here one more time, I might have to report you to one of the…uh…errr…moderators.

  28. You would think it’s a stretch to say that I want to see them win more than they do, but I’ve been watching supporting I.U. basketbal since for more than 30 years. I know what it’s loke to be on top of the mountain in the big ten & the country, all be it as a fan, nonetheless. I would argue that myself and many other fans have invested a lifetime of emotion to this teams success, for whatever it’s worth. As for “knowing how to win”, ALL of the players on this team won many many games in high school & I’m sure they haven’t forgotten, besides blowing late leads hasn’t really been a big problem this year, in fact theyv’e pulled out more close games than they have lost by my count.

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