Hawkeye men's basketball outlasted in OT at Purdue

BY TOM CLOS | JANUARY 28, 2013 5:00 AM

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With the level of talent the Big Ten has featured this season, it’s hard to categorize any road loss in the conference outside of trips to Penn State or Nebraska as bad.

That being said, the Iowa men’s basketball team may have suffered the next worst thing at Purdue.
Freshman guard Mike Gesell led all scorers with 18 points and 4 assists, and junior forward Melsahn Basabe posted 5 points and a pair of offensive rebounds following regulation, but it wasn’t enough as the Boilermakers outlasted the Hawkeyes in overtime, 65-62, in Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind., on Sunday.

Junior guard Terone Johnson had a double-double on 17 points and 12 assists, and freshman guard Ronnie Johnson added 15 points for Purdue (11-9, 4-3 Big Ten), which has now won four of its last five games. The pair also combined for 8 of their team’s 11 points in the extra session.

“We played tough, we played hard. We hung in and did everything we could to win the game,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said in an interview after the game on the Hawkeye Radio Network. “We just couldn’t close it out.”

Iowa (13-7, 2-5) trailed for most of the game before swiping its first lead of the afternoon, 51-50, on back to back free throws from sophomore Aaron White with 2:56 remaining. Junior guard Devyn Marble split a pair of free throws to extend the cushion to 54-52 with 47 seconds left, but the Hawkeyes couldn’t prevent the Boilers from tying the contest on a Terone Johnson basket with 33 seconds remaining.

“Coach [Matt] Painter drew up a great play to set up a double ball screen at the top of the zone,” Johnson said in a press conference posted to Purdue’s website. “It ended up being an easy lay-up for me with nobody in my face.”

The Black and Gold had a chance to win the game on the final possession of regulation but Marble’s contested runner in the lane was short, and the Hawkeyes couldn’t tip the rebound through as time expired.

“We wanted Marble going to the basket; we were in the bonus,” McCaffery said. “I thought he had a really good look at it.”

In overtime, the teams traded baskets before Purdue took a 61-59 lead with 1:29 left. White then got behind the Boilermakers on the other end and was fouled underneath the basket on a fast-break opportunity with 1:24 remaining, sending the sophomore to the line with a chance to tie the game.

But five days after a costly 3-of-7 performance from the foul line at Ohio State, White missed the crucial pair, and Purdue held on from there.

“Aaron missed the two, and those stick out, which is unfortunate because he made a great play,” McCaffery said. “That was a big momentum shift for them.”

The loss to a Boilermaker team that entered the game with an RPI of 122 can do nothing but hurt the Hawkeyes’ March Madness aspirations. The Black and Gold seemed to be in pretty good shape if it could just make it through the rest of January unscathed, but now the team will be pressed to find a pretty notable win down the home stretch of league play to erase the stench this defeat will mark on their tournament résumé.

“The great thing about the Big Ten is its such a great league, and we have so many chances left,” Gesell said on the Hawkeye Radio Network. “We showed some good things tonight; we just had a few lulls.”

The first half was one to forget for both sides as the team’s combined for 35 points on 13-of-57 (22.8 percent) shooting from the field. Iowa went just 4-of-26 (15.4 percent) during the opening 20 minutes but somehow trailed by only 3, 19-16, at the intermission.

“We weren’t knocking down shots in the first half, but we were right there,” Gesell said. “Shooting 15 percent and still going to the half only down by 3, I see some positives there.”

Marble, White, and Basabe each notched 12 points on the day, but the rookie carried the Hawkeyes back with 15 of his 18 points following the break.

“I challenged Mike in particular to really be aggressive offensively,” McCaffery said. “I felt he was the guy we could go to that would make baskets, and he really ignited us.”

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