After-thoughts from Iowa’s 87-64 loss to Purdue:
--It’s hard to imagine a team looking any better at both ends of the court than Purdue did in building a 51-20 halftime lead. The Boilermakers shot 69 percent from the field and 68.8 percent from 3-point range while keeping Iowa from finding any sort of offensive rhythm of its own. In one stretch that spanned most of the half, they made 20 of 25 shots with 11 of them being 3s.
--The question that’s tough to answer: How much of that first half was Purdue playing really well and how much of it was Iowa playing really poorly? Most of those 3s were wide open but even if there was no other team on the floor with them, that’s an extraordinary percentage. If the Boilers play that way consistently the rest of the season, they’ll win another Big Ten title and probably end up in the Final Four. The Hawkeyes didn’t appear to lack greatly in terms of effort — Nicholas Baer, in particular, made several hustle plays — but their focus and execution was as bad at times as it’s been all season.
--Backup center Ryan Kriener did not play for Iowa and although there was no announced explanation for it, many speculated that he suffered another concussion Wednesday when he collided with official Lewis Garrison during a game at Rutgers. Kriener missed another game earlier this season after sustaining a concussion against Penn State.
--If Kriener is nursing some sort of injury, this was a good game to miss. Purdue, as always, is an extremely physical team and there were several instances of Iowa players getting banged up. Freshman Luka Garza had his nose bloodied in the first half, Ahmad Wagner appeared to injure a hand or finger late in the half and Tyler Cook came up hobbling in the middle of the half.
--Wagner and Dom Uhl both have been relegated to mop-up duty lately but with Kriener out, both of them played in the first half. In fact, it’s the first time since Nov. 12 that Uhl has gotten into a game before halftime. He immediately drove to the hoop and scored within seconds after getting into the game and he later had a nice assist on a layup by Brady Ellingson.
--Freshman center Luka Garza missed his first two shots but eventually became the Hawkeyes’ most effective offensive weapon in the game, connecting on his next eight field goal attempts in a row and finishing with 19 points. He found great success moving out to the perimeter, where Purdue’s 7-footers either couldn’t or wouldn’t follow him. Two of Garza’s baskets were 3-pointers and three others came from just inside the 3-point arc.
--Isaiah Moss had his second straight bad game from a scoring standpoint, making only one of seven shot attempts and getting all his points on a 3-point field goal very early in the game, but he was good in one other area. He matched a career high with five assists while playing just 15 minutes, only four in the second half. It's doubtful head coach Fran McCaffery will make any sort of lineup change but if he does, Moss would seem to be the player most likely to be benched.
--The game easily could have resulted in the most lopsided home defeat in Iowa history. The Hawkeyes trailed by 31 points at halftime and 37 (66-29) not very far into the second half before trimming the final margin to 23. Their worst home defeat ever remains an 82-50 loss to Wisconsin in 2015. The Hawkeyes also lost to Ohio State by 29 (76-47) in 2012 so this was the third most lopsided home loss of the Fran McCaffery era.
--McCaffery was composed and upbeat in his postgame news conference, but the strain and frustration of being 1-7 in the Big Ten is beginning to show in some of his players. Garza and Jordan Bohannon, in particular, seemed very agitated in postgame interviews.