The Indiana Hoosiers (15-7) entered their February 8 showdown against their in-state rivals, the Purdue Boilermakers (13-10), on a three-game skid. The Cream and Crimson hoped to turn things around on a day legendary coach Bob Knight returned to Bloomington.
Unfortunately, Indiana’s fortunes remained the same as Purdue beat Indiana, 74-62. The Hoosiers are now on a season-high four-game losing streak.
IU got off to a fast start with Joey Brunk and Trayce Jackson-Davis collaborating for an early 5-0 run. However, Eric Hunter, Jr. answered with two three-pointers, Jahad Proctor scored on a layup, and Aaron Wheeler scored from deep to give the Boilermakers an 11-7 lead.
Less than two minutes later, IU’s Devonte Green and Jerome Hunter made consecutive threes as the Hoosiers reclaimed the lead, 13-11.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair for the next eight-and-a-half minutes. After Jackson-Davis made two free throws with 3:47 remaining in the first half, Purdue went on a 12-0 run.
Sophomore forward Aaron Wheeler made two triples, Trevion Williams made a layup, and Isaiah Thompson and Jahaad Proctor connected on jumpers for a 37-28 Purdue lead at halftime.
The Return of Bobby Knight to Bloomington
Knight, who coached the Hoosiers from 1971-2000, then took the floor at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall at the break. His son, Pat, who played for him from 1991 to 1995, escorted him.
Knight’s former players Isiah Thomas, Scott May, Keith Smart, Mike Woodson, A.J. Guyton, Randy Wittman, and Quinn Buckner took the floor as well, with them all wearing red jackets with the IU logo.
Knight didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to – the thunderous applause of the sellout crowd spoke massive volumes. The fans chanted, “Bobby! Bobby!” as he walked around the court and waved to those in attendance.
The second half was all Purdue. The Boilermakers went on a 17-10 run in the first seven minutes with Thompson’s three-pointer at the 12:58 mark gave them their biggest lead of the game, 54-38.
Never daunted, Indiana slowly chipped away at the lead. IU countered with a 12-2 run capped off by Justin Smith’s layup with 9:06 left to play. The Hoosiers whittled the Boilermakers’ lead to six, 56-50.
Alas, it was Indiana’s last-gasp stand. Purdue’s defense held the home team scoreless for more than five minutes and during that span, the Boilermakers scored nine points to pad the lead to 15 with just over four minutes remaining.
Purdue held on for the victory. The Boilers dealt the Hoosiers just their third loss in 17 home games this season and they also spoiled Coach Knight’s homecoming.
Hunter led Purdue with 12 points and five rebounds. Wheeler contributed 11 points off the bench. Sasha Stefanovic contributed 10 points.
Jackson-Davis led all scorers with 16 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots. Smith finished with 11 points while Hunter chipped in with 10 points.
Hoosiers Odds Trend Down Against No. 17 Iowa Hawkeyes
The Indiana Hoosiers (15-8) will square off against the 17th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes (17-7) at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on February 13.
IU faces a daunting challenge. Not only are the Hoosiers on a four-game losing streak, they also face one of the best teams in the country.
Indiana must put the clamps on Hawkeyes junior center Luke Garza, whose 23.1 points per game average is fourth in the country. Garza is also averaging 9.9 rebounds and 1.7 rebounds per game. Joey Brunk and Trayce Jackson-Davis will have their work cut out for them.
The Hoosiers must also neutralize the sophomore guard Joe Wieskamp (15.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and freshman guard C.J. Fredrick (11.2 ppg). The latter is also shooting 47.2 percent from three-point range.
For Indiana to succeed, it must not rely solely on Jackson-Davis (13.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg). The Hoosiers need contributions from just about everybody.
Hoosiers odds, Hoosiers over/under, and Hoosiers moneyline should trend down against Iowa. The simple reason: The Hawkeyes have a better overall record and conference record (9-5).
Aside from IU’s four-game slide, it also has the third-worst record in Big Ten Conference play (5-7).
Despite the Hoosiers’ respectable 14-3 record at home, they’re in for a dogfight against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday.