IOWA CITY, Iowa — No. 20 Iowa ended a three-game losing streak to outlast Purdue 83-76 on Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes (20-9, 9-7 Big Ten) sank seven of their final eight free throws inside of the final 50 seconds to secure the victory. It was almost a relief for the players after falling from Big Ten title contention to mid-pack in a five-day span.
“I wouldn’t say we hit the panic button,” guard Roy Devyn Marble said. “We definitely had a sense of urgency as a team. It was important for us as a team to get this victory.”
Marble led the Hawkeyes with 21 points, five assists, four steals and no turnovers. Guard Mike Gesell and forward Aaron White each scored 15 for Iowa, with White also grabbing 10 rebounds.
Iowa led by 13 at halftime, then allowed Purdue take a four-point advantage inside of 12 minutes before rallying. With the shot clock winding down, White gave the Hawkeyes their last lead at 65-64 with a 3-pointer from the right wing. It was only White’s sixth 3-pointer of the season.
“That’s when I’m making them because I’m not thinking about them,” White said. “I’m just catching and shooting in rhythm. That was a pivotal play in the game.”
The teams traded baskets until 42.6 seconds remained when Purdue’s Rapheal Davis hit one of two free throws to trim Iowa’s lead to 76-74. Rather than defend the next possession,
Purdue coach Matt Painter ordered his players to foul Gesell, who was struggling from the free-throw line. Gesell calmly drilled both free throws and knocked down five of six in the final minute.
“We wouldn’t have done that if they gave the ball to Marble, one of their better free-throw shooters,” Painter said. “But since they gave it to their worst free-throw shooter, I just didn’t like going to the shot clock with it having the ball with seven seconds on the road. If they score, the game’s more or less over. I was trying to extend the game.”
Gesell hit nearly 80 percent from the free-throw line as a freshman, but entered Sunday making just 64.3 percent of his free-throw attempts. He finished the game 8 of 11 from the line.
“It was very important to me,” Gesell said. “Throughout my career I’ve been a very good free-throw shooter. I’ve been up and down this year from the line. So I think it was a little bit of a confidence boost for me to be able to step up there and shoot them with confidence and knock them down.
“I felt a little bit disrespected but at the same time I didn’t blame them. I had already missed one in the game. I haven’t been shooting well this year but at the same time I view myself as a very good free-hrow shooter.”
Purdue (15-14, 5-11 Big Ten) erased a 50-37 Iowa halftime lead with crisp execution to begin the second half. The Boilermakers steamed back into the game on a 12-2 run, highlighted by three baskets from guard Kendall Stephens. The Hawkeyes stumbled offensively, scoring on just five of their first 19 second-half possessions.
The Boilermakers took a 64-60 lead with 11:17 left, but went eight consecutive trips without a score, including five with turnovers.
Iowa rallied with an 8-0 run, highlighted by White’s 3-pointer to retake the lead at 65-64.
Iowa finished the first half on a 15-5 run that extended a three-point lead to 50-37 at halftime. The Hawkeyes scored on their final seven first-half possessions, highlighted from nine points by Marble.
Davis led Purdue with a season-high 18 points, including 13 in the first half.
Purdue outrebounded Iowa 40-33, but the Hawkeyes sank 26 of 36 free throws. Iowa collected 12 steals, committed just five turnovers and scored 18 points of Purdue’s 16 turnovers.
The Boilermakers have lost four straight games.
NOTES: The teams originally were supposed to play Saturday, but the game was pushed back one day after Iowa’s game at Indiana was postponed nine days because of a falling metal facing at Assembly Hall. … G Roy Devyn Marble scored 21 points to remain the Big Ten’s only play to score in every league
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