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IU men’s basketball fails to execute down stretch in home loss to No. 20 Iowa


Senior forward Juwan Morgan sits on the bench watching the game against Iowa on Feb. 7 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Iowa defeated IU, 77-72. Anna Tiplick Buy Photos

As Iowa junior guard Jordan Bohannon hustled back on defense with a little less than 90 seconds remaining in the game, he turned toward the IU student section and made clear his desire for the students to be silent.

The open 3-pointer made by Bohannon in the left corner moments earlier gave No. 20 Iowa a six-point lead as it looked to shut the door on IU’s late comeback attempt.

While the students quickly roared back to life following a dunk from senior forward Juwan Morgan, they fell silent once again at the hand of Bohannon. He made a deep 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring and 43 seconds left in the game to secure a 77-72 road victory for the Hawkeyes on Thursday night in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Bohannon led all scorers in the game with 25 points and followed his 3-point heroics by making five of six free throws inside the game’s final 30 seconds, with the Assembly Hall crowd doing its best to distract him via noise and colorful balloons behind the basket.

“We were always constantly clawing,” IU Head Coach Archie Miller said. “We just weren't quite good enough to finish this one off just in terms of being able to get one-time stops and then obviously being able to have quality-possessions with shots when we needed to."

Miller admitted after the game he “wasn’t terribly disappointed” in the way his IU team played despite having not led in the second-half. In contrast to the back-and-forth nature of both the opening minutes of Thursday’s game, as well as last weekend’s upset win at Michigan State, IU didn't have a lead for the final 32 minutes of the game.

Iowa finished the game with a 19-9 advantage in points off turnovers, as well as a 14-7 advantage in bench points. 

Juniors Devonte Green and De’Ron Davis both failed to have the same scoring spark off the bench as they did against the Spartans, combining for just seven points. But Davis contributed against Iowa’s 2-3 zone defense with a career-high seven assists, frequently finding teammates like sophomore forward Justin Smith cutting toward the rim.

“De'Ron gives you high-post and a low-post guy, he can catch it down there and he can command it in the paint,” Miller said. “He's a good passer out of the post. He's good against the zone.”

Moments of offensive inspiration for the Hoosiers, be it Davis passing out of the post or freshman guards Romeo Langford and Rob Phinisee driving to the rim, were few and far between. 

IU had two three-minute stretches in the game without scoring a point. Too often, the Hoosiers seemed content to pass the ball along the perimeter of the 3-point line instead of running plays with off-ball movement.

After the game, Morgan said that he liked how he, Davis and senior forward Evan Fitzner were able to pass the ball out of the paint to perimeter shooters.

IU’s talismanic senior leader also found himself in foul trouble, and not for the first time this season. He picked up his fourth foul, one away from disqualification, with 16:49 left in the game. 

Morgan sat on the bench for the next nine minutes. While IU only went from down seven points to down eight points in his absence, it was a far cry from the way the Hoosiers played without him against the Spartans.

“It’s tough for our team to not have him on the floor for that amount of time with foul problems,” Miller said. “We have to find a way to keep him on the floor with fouls, and he has to be a little bit smarter.”

Miller’s postgame press conference came to an end following a question about the importance of IU’s next game Sunday against Ohio State. 

He snatched up his stat sheet, cleared his throat and exited the Assembly Hall press room. 

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