After-thoughts from Iowa’s 83-78 victory over Purdue:
--All things considered, this probably was Iowa’s best game of the season. Its field goal percentage of 56.7 percent is just short of the season best of 56.9 (and that was against an awful Delaware State team), it shot 66.7 percent in the second half, it outrebounded a team that is known for its rebounding prowess, outscored the No. 17 team in the country 45-31 after halftime and contained what some believe is the best player in the country. Pretty good night’s work.
--One negative: It matched the Hawkeyes’ worst free throw shooting game of the season. They were 9 for 18, 0 for 5 in the first half and 5 for 14 before Jordan Bohannon and Nicholas Baer knocked down four big ones in the final 11 seconds.
--Freshman Ryan Kriener gave the Hawkeyes a huge lift in the second half after not even playing in the three previous games. He scored six very timely points and held his own against the biggest body in the Big Ten, 7-foot-2, 290-pound Isaac Haas. He may be creating another headache for head coach Fran McCaffery, who already was trying to figure out how to find playing time for Dale Jones when he returns from an injury next week. Kriener very clearly deserves more playing time, too.
--Four different Iowa players went to the locker room with various types of injuries during the contest — it was that kind of game — but none of them appear to be too serious. Isaiah Moss only played three minutes in the second half after taking a shot to the head but that may have been mostly because Baer was playing so well. Dom Uhl did not return after injuring his thumb on a missed dunk but McCaffery said he didn’t think Uhl broke a bone.
--Purdue’s Ryan Cline hit four monster threes for Purdue, all at important points in the game. But with 2:19 to go, Cline went to the free throw line with a chance to break a 78-78 tie and bricked both shots. Go figure.
--Tyler Cook may have had his best game since he scored 24 against Seton Hall early in the season, certainly his best game since returning from the injury list just before the Big Ten season. He had 16 points and six rebounds and held up well physically against larger, more experienced players.
--You could tell Peter Jok was determined to win this game after getting only 13 points in the previous loss to Purdue. It was especially obvious at the start of the second half when he scored 9 of Iowa’s first 13 points and mixed in a perfect lob pass to Uhl for a dunk. He finished with 29 points, 6 rebounds and career-high 8 assists. It’s the eighth time in his career has scored 28 or more points but only the second time Iowa has won the game.
--The Hawkeyes’ victory really made a mess of the Big Ten race. There are now eight teams within a game of the league lead. Michigan State is alone at the top at 4-1 with Maryland, Nebraska and Wisconsin all a half game back at 3-1, and Iowa, Purdue, Minnesota and Northwestern a full game back at 3-2.