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Thursday, February 17, 2005
Purdue 66, Iowa 63
Another road game, another tough loss. Anyone who read Randy Peterson's article will notice a similar opening, but as I watched Iowa squander another second half lead on the road, it was the only thing going through my mind. Iowa had a seven point lead as late as the seven minute mark, only to have that first conference road win evade them again.

Loyal Hawkeye followers have picked up on the pattern by now - play well enough to be in a position to win, then falter down the stretch. The end result - Iowa's current 0-5 road record. With the exception of the ugly game at Ohio State, each of Iowa's road games closely follow this model.

Illinois, 73-68 OT
Iowa was the clear underdog against the nation's best team, but they capitalized on Illinois's poor shooting and missed free throws at the end of regulation to force overtime, making Iowa the team to come closest to beating the Illini all season. Unfortunately all games must be recorded as a W or an L, and Iowa couldn't sustain its run long enough to earn the former.

Northwestern, 75-74 OT
Iowa actually played fairly well for the first 37 minutes of this game, but those memories are easily forgotten when a 12 point lead evaporates over the last 3 minutes of regulation. The Hawks rebounded to pull ahead by 5 in overtime, but even then they weren't safe from their own ineptitude. Three missed free throws, one unbelievable turnover and one buzzer-beating three later, Iowa suffered their third straight loss to the Wildcats. This was clearly the game where most Iowa fans gave up hope of a respectable conference finish, as the team fell to 2-4 with Michigan State and Wisconsin soon to come.

Wisconsin, 72-69
No one goes to the Kohl Center expecting an easy game, but Iowa managed to look strong at several points in this game, leading by as many as 9 in the first half and 12 in the second in their second game without Pierre Pierce. A 17-2 second half run by the Badgers gave them a lead they would hang on to the rest of the game. Like the Illinois game, this one wasn't painful because Iowa "should have" won, but because it proved what the Hawkeyes were capable of, which in turn makes losses to Michigan, Northwestern, and Purdue hard to stomach.

Purdue, 66-63
Carl Landry dominated most of this game, scoring 29 points on 11-15 shooting, but it was his absence in the second half that most people find notable. Purdue managed to go on a run after Landry sat down with his fourth foul, which contrasted the first game these two teams played. In that one, Landry was effective when in the game, but his minutes were limited by early foul trouble, and Iowa was able to run up the score when he was out. David Teague made a back-breaking three pointer inside of two minutes to put Purdue up by four, and the Boilermakers made six straight free throws after that to seal it up.

Game Notes

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