BLOOMINGTON – In a game Indiana needed to restore its NCAA Tournament hopes, the Hoosiers got back to their identity Thursday night, fighting for rebounds, clamping down on defense and getting to the free-throw line.
Some big shots from senior guard Devonte Green helped, too.
Behind 27 points from Green, 25 points off turnovers and a 39-28 rebounding edge, Indiana combined hot shooting on offense and desperate play on defense to outlast No. 21 Iowa 89-77 before an announced crowd of 17,222 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
In snapping a four-game losing streak, the Hoosiers (16-8, 6-7 Big Ten) picked up another statement win against a ranked team after a lackluster home loss to rival Purdue.
“We knew we had to bounce back, to get through a slump,” Green said. “All it takes is one win to get that feel good back in your system. So, I mean, we knew it was going to be tough to beat them, so that gave us a sense of urgency.”
For Indiana, it’s something to build upon heading back on the road Sunday at Michigan. Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis added his seventh double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, sophomore point guard Rob Phinisee had 12 points and five assists and sophomore forward Race Thompson matched a career-high with 10 points and four steals. Indiana shot 68.8 percent (22-of-32) from the foul line, with its 32 trips the most since getting to the line 36 times against Ohio State on Jan. 11.
“For our team, we were mentally right,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “When we’re mentally right and we play as a unit and we’re doing things that we’re supposed to do, I think we have a chance to be a good team. We’ve shown that.”
Green checked in at the 15:53 mark with Indiana trailing 9-5. His impact was immediate. Green made his first first four 3-point attempts, the fourth putting the Hoosiers up 25-16 with 12:18 left in the first half. Green was then fouled by Iowa guard Riley Till on a 3-point attempt, making all three free throws. Overall, Green scored nine points during a 12-0 run that put the Hoosiers up 31-19.
“I got a lot of open shots early,” Green said. “We moved the ball well. We spaced them out. We spaced the zone out. Once I started getting hot, it was going from there.”
Green’s fifth 3-pointer of the first half put Indiana up 44-27, and a 3-pointer from guard Al Durham with three seconds left gave Indiana a 49-34 halftime lead. As a team, the Hoosiers shot 58.3 percent from 3-point range (7-of-12) in the first half.
IU stretched its lead to as many as 20 points in the second half. Iowa junior center Luka Garza, who entered as the Big Ten’s leading scorer at 23.2 points per game, scored 38 points, six shy of his season high of 44 against Michigan. But the Hoosiers did a good job limiting Iowa’s supporting cast. Indiana limited Iowa sophomore guard Joe Wieskamp to just three points in the first half and 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting overall. Wieskamp was coming off a 30-point game in Iowa’s 96-72 win over Nebraska on Sunday.
Freshman guard CJ Frederick, Iowa’s top 3-point shooter at 47.9 percent, left the game in the first half with an apparent leg injury and did not return.
“(Garza) didn’t get a lot of help,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “Wieskamp, I thought, in the second half did a really good job attacking the rim. Obviously, it hurt losing CJ, as another guy who gives us offense. We just need some other guys to step up and help (Garza).”
Indiana got strong defense in the post from Thompson, who had three first-half steals. The Hoosiers held Iowa (17-8, 8-6) to just 42.9 percent from the field in the first half and 28.6 percent from 3-point range (4-of-14) for the game.
“Our defense in the first half triggered offense,” Miller said. “Also thought Devonte stepped up and obviously really got cooking there for a brief stretch and really gave us a shot in the arm, which is hopefully what a senior likes to do down the stretch is be ready to go.”
Phinisee stepped up in the second half with a pair of 3-pointers and a big running shot in the lane that put Indiana up 70-58 with 5:52 left. After Iowa cut Indiana’s lead to 71-60, Green made another big shot, a 22-foot 3-pointer late in the shot clock to put Indiana up 74-60. Thompson followed with a steal and a breakaway layup to extend IU’s lead to 76-60, giving the Hoosiers enough of a cushion to close out the game.
“It's just a good feeling when you see one and two and three and four go in,” Green said. “It's like, I'm going to shoot it again. I'm going to shoot it until I miss it. And then I'm going to shoot it again.”