IU drops Iowa again, this time 67-65 on an Armaan Franklin jumper

In one of the biggest games of the season, the ball was in Indiana sophomore Armaan Franklin’s hand.

That’s the way the 6-foot-4 guard from Indianapolis wanted it. In the leadup to Sunday’s contest with No. 8 Iowa at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Franklin talked about the sprained ankle that was still hampering him, that IU coach Archie Miller had recently said was only at about 65 percent.

It was mostly stiffness bothering him, not as much pain. But Franklin wanted to play on.

“I don’t like sitting out, I don’t like watching my teammates work without me,” Franklin said on Saturday. “I just do what I can do on the court, try to impact the game as much as I can.”

With just a handful of seconds left Sunday, the Hoosiers needed Franklin. The game was tied, 65-all. Franklin, who was 1-of-9 from the floor at that point, found himself matched up with Iowa’s Joe Wieskamp, just one-on-one.

Franklin dribbled forward. He stepped back. He swished it.

In so many of these games, the Hoosiers have just needed one of those winning plays, a big shot. So many times, IU couldn’t find that play. But this time, in a 67-65 win — a win the Hoosiers (10-8, 5-6 Big Ten) so badly needed — they found it from Franklin.

As the clock stopped with 1.8 seconds left, Franklin pointed toward his family in the stands. His teammates, including Rob Phinisee and Trayce Jackson-Davis, came his way and offered chest bumps. Instead of falling in a close game, which has happened so many times this season, IU pulled it out.

“Hit a step-back, and just let it go,” Franklin said postgame. “My teammates had ultimate confidence in me, coaches had confidence in me to get the ball in that moment, and it just paid off.”

While only one shot could be the game-winner, it was truly a team effort that provided the Hoosiers’ second win of the season over Iowa (13-6, 7-5).

Before that Franklin 3, there was a 3-pointer from Rob Phinisee that tied it up at 61-all. After a Luka Garza free throw gave the Hawkeyes the slightest edge, Race Thompson hit a jumper to put IU back on top, and Trayce Jackson-Davis sank two free throws to push the lead to three.

Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon hit a 3-pointer to tie it back up, but Franklin had an important answer. So, so important, given a loss would have been the Hoosiers’ third loss in a row, and a fourth defeat in their last five games.

Not to mention, the Hoosiers have lost a multitude of close games this season. But not this one. 

“I’m thrilled for our team,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “In this league, the emotional rollercoaster that you can get on, it can really take its toll on you mentally. But I give our guys credit, like I told them, of preparing after the Rutgers game, going into Illinois, very, very good attention to detail. I think our guys are really together, and we’re getting better.

“To find a way, hopefully gives us a shot in the arm and some of that confidence that we need.”

That Illinois loss was another tough one, in overtime, just this past Tuesday. But the Hoosiers didn’t lose their edge, especially on the defensive end. IU has now held Iowa to its two lowest point totals of the season, following the Hawkeyes’ 69-point effort in January.

It took some time for the Hoosiers to fully click into gear, though. Early on, it was Iowa in command, jumping out to a 17-4 lead. IU hit just one of its first 12 shots, including multiple missed layups. Race Thompson, who connected on IU’s lone shot during that stretch, converted a three-point play to cut the lead to 10.

Thompson was a tone-setter for much of the day, not only because of his 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting, but his defensive intensity made life more difficult on Luka Garza. Iowa’s star big man had 18 points, but it was on 6-of-14 shooting.

“He does everything for us,” Miller said. The fact he’s playing well right now, to me, gives us great confidence. He’s turned into a real leader. … To me, if he’s not the most improved player in our league this year, he’s right there. He’s one of a few guys.”

Thompson’s steadiness kept the door open for IU to creep back in. Or maybe, more accurately, for Iowa to fall apart.

The Hawkeyes missed 14 of their last 16 shots going into the locker room, as Iowa coach Fran McCaffery started shouting obscenities on the sideline at an unequaled rate.

It took a second for IU to take advantage of the drought. But a make from Thompson with 4:31 left in the half sparked a 6-of-7 splurge by the Hoosiers, including four 3-pointers. Al Durham hit the first, falling to the floor on a foul. He missed the free throw on a potential four-point play — IU was just 7-of-13 from the free throw line in the half — but it didn’t kill IU’s momentum. Forty seconds later, freshman Anthony Leal buried a 3-pointer in the corner, standing just inches from players on Iowa’s bench.

Then another freshman guard, Khristian Lander, fully ignited the Hoosiers. He intercepted an inbounds pass, starting a run-out that ended with a Trayce Jackson-Davis slam. The very next time the Hoosiers got the ball, it went to Lander, who hit a 3-pointer from the wing to cut it to 31-30, Iowa, with just over a minute left.

Leal hit another 3 with just 36 seconds left, holding up three fingers as he raced back to the defensive end. IU forced one last stop, and the Hoosiers rushed into halftime, energized, somehow ahead.

“If you look at Khristian Lander right now, he’s saving us in a couple of games this week,” Miller said. “Especially (today), he made some plays for us. A month ago, he was really struggling.

“Staying with it, you see those rewards that you want to have happen for them so much.”

A shooting percentage that hovered below 20 percent for much of the first half ended up at 32.4 percent for IU. Iowa’s drought sent it into the locker room as makers of 37 percent, though the Hawkeyes were 6-of-11 from deep.

The second half followed a similar pattern. Following an opening bucket from Jackson-Davis, a recharged Iowa squad went on a 14-0 run to reclaim a 45-35 lead with 14:30 remaining.

But again, the Hoosiers ate into the lead. It was yet another freshman, Trey Galloway, who sank a 3-pointer to cap a 9-0 run. Iowa would respond, pushing a one-point lead back to six, but IU kept coming.

Rob Phinisee provided a sequence where he tied up Wieskamp on a drive, forcing a jump-ball turnover. On the other end, Jackson-Davis converted a three-point play. Phinisee then pushed it in transition to Franklin, who scored on a layup, giving the Hoosiers a 55-53 lead. Iowa regained the lead, but Phinisee tied it up at 61-all by burying a 3 with 1:39 left.

Both Phinisee and Durham were 1-of-8 from the floor, along with Franklin’s 2-of-10. But in the grand scheme, it didn’t matter.

“Rob hit a huge shot. We were in a little trouble there and he rose up and hit a big 3 for us off the bounce,” Miller said. “Rob stuck with it. Didn’t have his best outing, didn’t have his best week, but I thought he had a good finish to the game.

“Just in general, us being able to absorb them not playing particularly well and winning the game is a huge step for us.”

And even bigger step came with Franklin’s game-winner. A player who had struggled much of the night didn’t let it bother him. A player who isn’t 100 percent because of that ankle just continues to play on for his team.

“Rob’s shot, biggest one of the game. Armaan’s shot, obviously, ended it,” Miller said. “I also think Trayce, he wasn’t having a great night at the line, he banged two free throws for us, as well.

“We made some winning plays, which was good to see, because on Tuesday, it was the opposite. We didn’t make enough winning plays.” 

28 comments

  1. What on earth was this game??? Great win Hoosiers. After a brutal start, they just fought back. They made Garza earn every possession. He’ll be spending some time in the ice bath tonight.

    Great shot Armaan. That was nails. About as low % shot you can get, but he NAILED it. I’m looking forward to a healthy Armaan next year.

    Man, Trace missed just about all his freethrows, then he nailed two with 40 secs left to extend the lead to 3.

    I still don’t understand how we won this game. Rebounding and playing tough defense at the core, but I still don’t understand it.

    1. Defense. Indiana held Iowa to it’s lowest point total of the season. Iowa’s second lowest points scored? Against I.U.

  2. Fran McCaffery is a bargain bin Tom Crean.

    Iowa has all the talent in the world to go to the FF. But they play terrible defense and don’t adjust when the shots aren’t falling. His coaching style when they start playing badly is to turn his face the color of our away jerseys.

  3. 36% of their Field Goal attempts
    26% of their 3-point shots
    62.5% from the Free Throw line

    1. Which is why playing very good D is so important to Coach Miller.
      So much for wreckage on a snowed over highway. HUMPH!!!

  4. Freshmen all hit monster shots…Lander, Leal and Galloway all hit daggers and shots that were in key moments of first and second half.
    Big triple by Phinisee in the final minutes…Every time I give up on him, he proves me wrong.
    Geronimo could end up being the best future talent on this team…Really good court awareness and delivers nice interior passes.
    Stupendous work from Race Thompson on both ends.
    Wonderful game from Lander…Maybe, after all, he is going to be that dynamic point guard. The young gun is getting more swag with every game.

    Total team effort..When it’s clicking, it’s a very fun team to watch. Love the depth and the fact they all seem to be playing unselfishly. Archie has managed the full roster about as well as could ever be asked.

    Just get to March and into the Big Dance…This is an “anything can happen” sort of team.

    1. “Big triple by Phinisee in the final minutes…Every time I give up on him, he proves me wrong.”

      I had just complained to my wife “Why is Phinisee in?!?!” and he promptly contributes positively!!

  5. Someone needs to schedule their optirectomy to detaches the optic nerves from their rectum so they don’t have such a *poopy outlook on life.

  6. And yet it’s a win. #27 IU beats #5 Iowa – again. Iowa picked by 3 points. And yes, a home court win which is fairly meaningless this year.

    And Po, you are starting to sound like the HH and the Crean dialogues.

    Don’t worry, there are many more games to play yet. They will possibly lose a number of them which will allow your ongoing message to stay on point.

    Meanwhile, good game guys. Proud of you and much improvement is possible.

  7. And I didn’t even mention our superstar….Analysts said it may have been Trayce’s best half of basketball (2nd half) of the year. 5/5 , seven boards…and hit free throws down the stretch. His steadfast attitude is a true gift of great character that permeates throughout the roster. People on this site who are so negative on this team are giving all a great disservice by getting hung up on stats rather than looking at how hard these kids play.
    When they play together (as they did today ) it should be acknowledged and praised.

  8. Nice, much needed win. 2 wins vs Iowa will go a long way in the selection committee room as long as we win 5 more.

    Aside from the obvious answers to “How did we win?” (Race, defense, rebounding) the real answer is athleticism. We have better speed & athleticism than Iowa & they don’t play D all that much. That makes them vulnerable in a half court match-up. I thought Lander really used his speed to create some offense for us.

    We MUST payback NW. We match up pretty well with MN, MSU as well. I think we can eek out 4 wins right here. Just need to steal another one somewhere.

  9. I was apprehensive when Miller put the starting five out there for the end of the game. The same group that looked so bad at the start. But they pulled it out.

    Great game!

  10. Even when not shooting well rebounding and D can be played. Not hard to see the IU Frosh are the positive future for IUBB. Wonder how good this team really is if Brunk, Hunter were playing and and 2 playing hobbled were nearer 100%.

  11. Congratulations to IU for a hard fought victory. I am really impressed with Race. He along with Franklin are noticeably better this season compared with last year. If Race can develop some more offense, he might even be able to play pro ball. Jackson Davis played well. He took on the Garza challenge and won! Now, let’s see if the momentum from this game carries over.

  12. Without Joey and Smith Race has increased his production and importance. Due to increased game minutes? Would his play be the same if Joey & Smith were available? Dude has stepped up.

    Watching the freshmen in the game together bring energy. Says something about the 3 of them playing together in AAU (or whatever it’s called). They look smooth.

  13. Basically Iowa has a bunch of guys who can shoot but are not athletic enough to defend anybody who has athletes bottom line Indiana was quicker but they still can’t shoot and thats been a continuous issue with Archie Miller teams

  14. I have consistently celebrated and given credit to Archie’s IU teams for playing strong/solid/excellent (your pick) defense since he took over the program. At the same time, I can not ignore the fact that Archie’s IU team’s have generally and consistently been weak/inept/terrible (your pick) on offense. As long as the combination of great defense and terrible offense remains in affect, I do not believe Archie’s teams will produce anything more than mediocre results. IMO, as long as that is the case, IU will continue to be a “middle-of-the-pack” Big Ten BB team that struggles to produce 20-win seasons. And while I appreciate strong team defense as much as any IU fan (Bob Knight’s influence and legacy), I just can’t get excited about IU remaining a mediocre BB program. Furthermore, I don’t see anything changing any time soon. With the exception of the recent grad transfer, I don’t see that enough help is on the way. In fact, there’s a good chance that IU’s offensive production will take a step backward next season if IU loses TJD to the NBA. If TJD leaves (50/50 chance?), which current IU player or class of 2021 recruit will have the talent and athleticism necessary to fill the void left by TJD’s departure? Will this year’s freshmen develop to the point where one of them will make 40% of their 3-point attempts and 80% of their free throw attempts? Which IU player is going to become proficient making bunnies at the rim? Unlike some of you wonderfully loyal (I mean that sincerely) IU BB fans, my eyes just don’t see what my heart desires.

    Ironically, when I assess IU FB and its future, I am filled with excitement and optimism. Not only does TA have most of his talented roster returning, but the incoming class of recruits and transfers, while small in number, may be the most talented group of incoming players that IU FB has ever experienced! A winning program that has proven it can play strong/solid/excellent defense while being strong/solid/above average on offense, and which is improving it’s level of talent from season to season, is an IU program worth getting really excited about.

    I hope IU’s second win over Iowa proves to be a turning point for Archie’s program and that IU goes on to finish the season on a major winning streak.

    1. I consulted my three friends about the IU Football program…and they consider last year to be a fluke. They also claim the following:
      While all of BigTen basketball is on a huge upswing, BigTen football found many prestigious programs on a downward spiral.
      We couldn’t even beat a “middle of the pack” sub .500 SEC team in a bowl.
      More than one BigTen basketball program is competitive on the biggest stages. The only top BigTen football program generally gets destroyed in ‘Bowl Championships.’
      IU Football would suffer far greater without Penix than IU Basketball without TJD.

    2. I agree that Jackson-Davis leaving after this year would be a huge problem for next year. It seems unlikely that the incoming freshman will be good enough his first year to fill Trayce’s shoes.

      If Brunk returns, that would be helpful (whether Trayce leaves or not.)

      I do think if Trayce comes back next year, offense will come much easier and this team will seriously contend with the best teams (and actually beat the lesser teams!)

  15. IU wins a close one in own gym vs a typical Iowa Fran McCaffery coached team. Both, Iowa and IU men’s basketball programs are middle of pack big ten basketball programs.

  16. I hope we’re ‘middle of the pack.’ Most pundits believe any of the top seven teams from the conference have legit shots at a deep tournament run. Between eight and ten teams will likely get into the tournament. Middle of the pack isn’t anything shameful in this year’s BigTen. Seth Greenberg recently predicted Rutgers as a team making a deep NCAA tournament run.
    It wouldn’t shock me to see five BigTen teams in the Elite Eight.

    Iowa is a very good basketball team…You guys can’t make up your mind what you want. Iowa has great shooters including a big who can take his game to the perimeter. Until their recent bumps in the road (initiated by our stunning win at Carver Hawkeye), they were considered a conference front-runner and a team that could cut down nets on the final Monday of the season….

  17. Ya gotta feel a little sorry for Archie. His team is headed down the home stretch after upsetting a top-ranked Iowa team and there’s still a huge buzz about IU FB. Today’s story about DM returning to IU might get more interest than anything recently published about Archie’s team. When’s the last time IU FB generated this much optimism or held the Hoosier Nation’s attention this long after the previous FB season ended?

    If our society can get COVID under control and fans are allowed to attend sporting events again, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch FB in Memorial Stadium next fall.

  18. I wouldn’t produce the ‘Hoosier Football Rising” video just yet….We saw this film before. Now that guy is coaching basketball at a football school in Georgia.

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