IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa needed to quickly rebound from a
crushing, overtime loss to top-ranked Illinois.
The Hawkeyes (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today; No. 23 AP) did just that Saturday, easily beating Purdue 71-57
on just one-day's rest.
"This was a very difficult turnaround," said Iowa coach Steve
Alford, who challenged his team to come back strong after
Thursday's 73-68 loss against the Illini.
"This was a big concern for us and you have to hold serve at
home, especially now as we get into the thick of the Big Ten
season," he said.
Jeff Horner added 13 points, the reserves accounted for 21
points and the Hawkeyes shot 45 percent from the field to hand
Purdue (4-12, 0-6) its sixth straight defeat and worst Big Ten
start since the 1962-63 season.
"We knew we had to win this game," Horner said. "Our bench
came in and just did a great job. I think that's why our offense
was so good in the first half."
The Boilermakers hit 50 percent of the 3s, but turned the ball
over 19 times and, as they have all season, were hampered by a
Entering the game ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten in
scoring, the Boilermakers managed just eight points in the first 12
minutes, and their 17 first-half points were a season low.
They were also outmuscled underneath the basket, where Iowa won
the rebound battle 38-35 and outscored the Boilermakers 34-14 in
Purdue coach Gene Keady said the burden for turning the season
around falls on everyone.
"I can't afford to be disappointed," said Keady, who coached
his final game in Iowa City and was honored with a standing ovation
"You've got to come back and teach, be positive and not let
things get you down. There are a lot worse things than this. We got
ourselves in this fix and we're going to try to fight through it
and get out of it," said Keady, who is retiring at season's end
after 25 years at Purdue.
Iowa twice built leads of 21 points in the second half, the
first coming on Thomas' putback to make it 59-38 with 8:12
For Thomas, a junior college transfer who is among the first
players off Iowa's bench, the performance was his best in a long
He shot 7-for-13 and had his best scoring game since the season
opener. He also grabbed nine rebounds and blocked a shot, but it
was his three thundering dunks that seemed to energize the Hawkeyes
"When Doug's in there, it gets the crowd going, it gets us
going and that's definitely what we need," Horner said.
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