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COLUMN: Iowa win important in many ways for IU

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Freshman guard Aljami Durham brings the ball up the court against Iowa Monday evening in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Durham had seven points in IU's 77-64 win against Iowa. Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

In the thick of a tough five-game stretch, Monday's 77-64 win over Iowa was much needed for this IU squad coming off of a rough performance at Michigan.

This is one of the games on IU’s schedule that they needed to take care of, against a young and inexperienced Iowa team who was riding a two-game losing streak. It wasn’t the prettiest of games by any means, and the Hoosiers had some sloppy stretches throughout the night, but IU managed to stick together and grind out an important win.

It’s the first Big Ten win of the season for the Hoosiers, and the first of IU Coach Archie Miller’s tenure, too. It’s a key milestone for both parties, and will be even more significant if IU has any chance of making any noise in the Big Ten this season.

Losing with the performance IU had on the road against Michigan on Saturday can be brutal on a team’s confidence going forward, especially with such a quick turnaround, but tonight proved this team can make quick adjustments in a short amount of time.

Following tonight’s game, IU takes a trip to Louisville to take on the Cardinals this weekend, and follows that matchup with a neutral-site game against No. 9 Notre Dame. Saying that this was a much-needed win is an understatement.

Going 0-5 during the current stretch would be catastrophic to the season because not only did you come close to knocking off the No. 1 team in the nation, but you also start the conference season with a goose egg in the win column.

Losses to Louisville and Notre Dame to tie it all together would’ve been icing on the cake, and suddenly the Hoosiers would find themselves at 4-7 before the next slate of non-conference games begins.

But that didn’t happen, and taking care of games that they’re supposed to win is a step in the right direction for Miller and company. IU doesn’t play another Big Ten game until the New Year, and having a conference win this early in the season can be very important for IU late into the season when it gets closer to tournament time.

Shot selection was a lot better tonight, and ball movement looked great in the second half. Senior forward Collin Hartman was huge for IU with not only his three-ball, but his leadership and presence on the court as well.

The Hoosiers had a lot of things going for them tonight, and just looked like the overall more dominant team. Making an 18-0 run in the second half is supposed to happen if everyone is doing their jobs on the floor, and IU did just that.

Yes, there were streaks that IU would go on which kept Iowa in the game for the majority of the contest, but the Hoosiers did a great job of making sure that the Hawkeyes had no chance for a late comeback.

Junior forward Juwan Morgan once again played a great, all-around game of basketball, where he recorded his second double-double of the season. 15 points to go along with 10 rebounds was a deserving stat line for Morgan, who once again proved his worth on the defensive end of the ball as well, bringing a strong presence down low.

IU brought all the pieces of the puzzle together against Iowa, a performance that we should be seeing more often than not this season. This team plays at their best when they have multiple contributors on offense and defense.

Four Hoosiers scored in double digits, three different players had at least one block, and eight of them nabbed a steal, too. IU looked like ball hawks tonight, and their effort was evident, something we haven’t seen day-in and day-out.

Putting together a performance like that does wonders for momentum going into the next matchup in a hostile environment like the Yum! Center. The only thing is, the last time IU strung together this solid of a performance, they had one of their worst duds of the season just three days later.


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