IOWA CITY, Iowa — Clink. Clank. Clunk.
Iowa had a shot at upsetting fifth-ranked Indiana in Monday’s Big Ten opener, but the Hawkeyes missed that chance.
Holding the Hoosiers’ high-octane offense 20 points below its season average, Iowa struggled offensively throughout a 69-65 loss to Indiana in front of a sellout crowd of 15,400 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“Shots rolled around and fell out, some popped in and then popped out, I remember one that was about halfway down and came out. It was that kind of day,” said Devyn Marble, who still managed a 14-point, 9-rebound game despite a 1-of-14 shooting performance from the field.
The Hawkeyes hit just 21-of-63 shots and were even worse from 3-point range, where a 3-of-17 game only added to the frustration Iowa players felt after tasting defeat for the first time in seven games.
“There will be days like this, and when they happen you have to find other ways to win. We didn’t get that done,” forward Aaron White said.
Zach McCabe missed a pair of open looks from behind the arc in the final minute after Iowa had earlier turned the ball over on back-to-back trips down the floor following a McCabe jumper with 6 minutes, 13 seconds remaining that had trimmed the Hoosiers’ lead to 57-56.
On the first occasion, Josh Oglesby overthrew White on a fast-break opportunity following an Indiana turnover and on the second, the Hoosiers intercepted a cross-court pass by Anthony Clemmons.
“They were costly situations and in a game like this, one, two possessions can make a big difference,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “Our guys will learn from this, I’m confident of that. There will be nights when you don’t shoot it well, but if you rebound, don’t turn it over, you can still give yourselves a chance.”
McCabe’s final misses came after two Marble free throws with 46 seconds left had pulled Iowa within a 65-62 score.
“Those are shots he has to take, good open looks,” McCaffery said. “I want him taking those shots when they are there.”
McCaffery appreciated his team’s fight, sentiments shared by Indiana coach Tom Crean after the Hawkeyes held Indiana to season-low 40 percent shooting.
“We didn’t win this game on offense, but we didn’t lose it because of offense either,” said Crean, whose team won at Iowa for the first time since 2008. “We defended and rebounded and that gave us a chance.”
Iowa (11-3, 0-1 Big Ten) never led after Indiana answered a 10-0 run by the Hawkeyes with a run of 10 unanswered points of its own, erasing the 16-11 lead Iowa had taken when White completed a three-point play with 9 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the first half.
By the time the Hawkeyes scored again, Victor Oladipo had scored on consecutive possessions as part of a 14-point, 10-rebound game and the Hoosiers (13-1, 1-0) were on their way to a 33-25 lead at the break.
“To me, the difference was that run in the first half,” said White, who led Iowa with 15 points. “We knew that’s what they have been doing to people and it put us in a position where we played from behind the rest of the game.”
Cody Zeller, held to four first-half points, made certain that was the case.
The Big Ten preseason player of the year collected 11 of his game-high 19 points in a little over four minutes to open the second half to leave Indiana in control.
“They had a little more experience than us and I think in the end, that showed,” McCaffery said. “We’ll learn a lot from this. I know our guys will. They showed me some fight today.”