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<p>Kris Murray with the ball against Race Thompson in Iowa&#x27;s 90-68 win. (HN photo/Jaren Himelick)</p>
Kris Murray with the ball against Race Thompson in Iowa's 90-68 win. (HN photo/Jaren Himelick)

'We left our game in West Lafayette': No. 15 Indiana suffers major letdown against Iowa

Iowa went wire-to-wire in a 22-point win over Indiana

Two minutes and one second. 

No, that’s not how long No. 15 Indiana led in its 90-68 loss to Iowa on Tuesday. It’s how long it took Indiana head coach Mike Woodson to speak to the media following the blowout defeat.

For just the second time this season, the Hoosiers dropped a game at Assembly Hall. Indiana dominated No. 5 Purdue in the second half for a 79-71 win on Saturday. The road victory at Mackey Arena was probably the high point of IU’s season. Just three days later, the Hoosiers may have reached their low point.

“We left our game in West Lafayette, and it's just unacceptable the way we played tonight,” Woodson said. “I apologize to our fans. I'm the coach. I've got to get them ready to play, and that was a bullshit performance tonight.”

Blank stares, poor body movement and low energy describe what happened in Assembly Hall on Tuesday. 

Kris Murray nailed a 3-pointer on Iowa’s first offensive possession, and his squad never looked back from there. Iowa scored on its first three possessions and began the game on an 8-0 run. Woodson quickly called a timeout, but the Hoosiers failed to properly respond.

It took Indiana over four minutes to force Iowa to miss a field goal. The Hoosiers never held the lead.

Typically after home games, win or lose, two Indiana players speak to the media. Trayce Jackson-Davis was the only player to speak after the Iowa game, and that lasted 3:29. The Indiana senior tallied 26 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, but even that wasn’t enough to make the Hoosiers competitive.

“They came in and they shot lights out,” Jackson-Davis said. “We just never had a chance to respond and we never responded.”

The loss was Indiana’s fourth straight against Iowa. Woodson is 0-4 against the Hawkeyes in his two seasons as head coach.

Murray was the story again against the Hoosiers. Iowa’s junior forward scored 30 points on Jan. 5 when the Hawkeyes beat Indiana 91-89. He also scored 29 against IU on Jan. 13, 2022, which set a career-high at the time. Murray is averaging 22.5 points against Indiana in the past two seasons.

Indianapolis native Tony Perkins added 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to propel Iowa. Iowa has scored 80 points or more against IU in all four games since Woodson has become head coach.

“You saw the same game I did tonight,” responded Woodson when asked why the Hawkeyes give Indiana trouble.

Despite earning a pair of wins over Purdue in February, Indiana ends the month with just a 5-3 record. The Hoosiers are 3-3 in their last six games, and they haven’t won back-to-back games since defeating Michigan on Feb. 11 to cap a three-game winning streak.

It is now unlikely that IU re-enters the top four of the Big Ten standings. A spot outside of the top four means that IU would need four consecutive victories to win the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago next week.

Indiana hosts Michigan on Sunday for a senior night battle. The Wolverines sit at 11-7 in conference play while the Hoosiers are 11-8. Michigan travels to play Illinois on Thursday.

“A game like this you gotta wash it out, because we’ve got another game Sunday, and we gotta get ready for that and prepare for it,” Jackson-Davis said.

At midnight, the clock strikes March. Indiana heads into the most crucial month of the season following its most disappointing outing of the season. Indiana has experienced tremendous highs and dreadful lows all season long, but the margin for error is thinning.

It’s unknown which way the Hoosiers go after this game, but one way or another, this will end up as a season-defining loss.

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