After-thoughts from Iowa’s 86-70 loss to Purdue:
--While no one would admit it, you can’t help but think that playing opponents such as Savannah State, Western Carolina and Bryant over the past few weeks dulled the edge on the defense the Hawkeyes played early in the season. It had been four weeks since they played a team that really challenged them and it showed. Purdue did anything it wanted offensively in the first half.
--You can’t help but wonder if the Hawkeyes are going to struggle on the road all season. The first two true road games certainly indicate that might be the case. They trailed by 33 in the second half at Michigan State and by 26 in the second half Thursday. In both cases, they made a late run to make the score look a little less hideous. On Thursday, Purdue missed nine of its last 10 shots, allowing the Hawkeyes to close with a 12-2 run.
--Luka Garza went through pregame warm-ups but never got off the bench. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said he just wanted him to get a little bit of movement but had no intention of using him. This is a game where he really could have helped against 7-3 Matt Haarms, who nearly doubled his season scoring average with 14 points. Late in the first half, with Tyler Cook and Ryan Kriener both in foul trouble, McCaffery threw Riley Till out there to try to defend Haarms. All he really was able to do was foul him.
--Till was in the game because McCaffery insists upon sticking to this philosophy that a player with two fouls must sit out the remainder of the first half. This is one case where he might have been better off using Kriener with two fouls rather than using a walk-on and letting Purdue expand its already sizeable lead.
--One Iowa player who wasn’t completely awful was junior guard Isaiah Moss, who got the Hawkeyes going with seven early points and finished with 13. He also held Purdue’s Carsen Edwards to 21 points, five below his average, although you got the feeling Edwards could have scored more. He didn’t get a single point in the final 16 minutes, spending more than nine of those minutes on the bench.
--Cook did a good job of getting to the basket and scoring in the second half on his way to a game-high 24 points. But three times in the first half, Purdue coaxed him into launching mid-range jump shots. All of them missed, of course. It’s something we’re going to see a lot more of over the remainder of the season. Cook is absolutely awe-inspiring within five feet of the basket but totally ineffective when launching them from 18 feet out.