IOWA CITY– I’m looking at the Iowa bench in their 49-45 home loss to Purdue last Saturday and I saw three starters who couldn’t play against the Boilermakers.
First you have Anthony Tucker, academically ineligible, who is the Hawks' best three-point shooter, along with Matt Gatens.
Sitting next to Anthony was Jeff Peterson, Iowa’s only true point guard, who leads the team in assists and steals.
Jeff has been playing with a broken bone in his left wrist, but a hamstring pull in last Wednesday’s loss to Wisconsin put him on the bench for the whole game.
Finally Cyrus Tate, the Hawkeyes' most consistent big man. Cy played well in a win over Northwestern two weeks ago but got hurt warming up against the Badgers.
I don’t know any team in America that could have three starters go down and still win a lot of games.
Jake Kelly probably echoed what some fans, including me, feel, “If no one would have gotten hurt all year… that’s pretty outrageous to say, but I think we would have had a totally different season.”
Jake has been playing with a injured finger on his non-shooting hand and had to go out late in the Purdue game with a cut on his forehead.
He still played 38 minutes, took over at point, scored a team-high 19 points and pulled down five rebounds.
The Hawkeyes average eight 3-pointers per game. They only made 2-19 from behind the arc (0-9 in the second half). If they could have shot just half their average against the Boilermakers…
Purdue plays as good a defense as anyone in the Big Ten, but Iowa had open shots, they just wouldn’t drop.
The Hawks still played the top team in the league down to the last possession but dropped their record to 13-13, 3-10 in the Big Ten.
I think the character Iowa is showing by competing hard every game will show up in the near future.
Remember, Kirk Ferentz started 1-10 and 3-8 in his first two years as head football coach.
Thank goodness they have a week off before they host Michigan next Sunday.
Let’s hope John Streif, the Hawkeyes' head trainer, can get the M.A.S.H unit back in the battle.