Iowa City, Iowa – Indiana survived one of its strangest games of the season and kept its winning streak alive with the Big Ten tournament less than two weeks away.
Still, the Hoosiers needed a record-setting performance from Robert Johnson to hold off the reeling Hawkeyes.
Johnson scored a career-high 29 points on nine 3s, which tied the school record, and Indiana rallied from an early 13-point deficit and beat Iowa 84-82 for its fourth straight victory.
Devonte Green had 18 points on four 3s for the Hoosiers (16-12, 9-7 Big Ten), who also blew a 13-point lead before Freddie McSwain Jr. hit the game-winning basket on a layup with 46 seconds left.
“We’re lucky to come out of here with a (win). A lot of guys stepped up,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “Can’t say enough about our backcourt. (Johnson) and (Green) were really, really good.”
Tyler Cook was really good for Iowa (12-17, 3-13), scoring 28 points and 10 rebounds. But he missed a put-back at the buzzer that would’ve forced overtime. The Hawkeyes have lost five straight.
Juwan Morgan opened the second half with a 3 to tie the game at 45 – a shot that served as a precursor for things to come. Indiana buried seven of their first nine tries from 3-point range after halftime, including three straight from Johnson, to go up 72-59 with just over 10 minutes left.
But Iowa – which got outscored 62-36 after hitting its first 10 shots – answered with a quick 14-2 run to get within 74-73. A pair of Cook free throws made it 82-all with 1:50 left.
“If there was any disappointment, it was the run that (Indiana) made in the second half, more so anything that happened in the first half. I thought that when we got a lead, we got content to trade. We didn’t extend it, and of course they’re going to keep shooting the ball,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
Indiana finished 56 percent from the field overall, had 23 assists on 32 baskets and finished 14 of 24 from beyond the arc.
“They’re playing extremely hard, and I think we’re much more efficient, unselfish team offensively,” Miller said.
More Big Ten
(At) Maryland 61, Rutgers 51: Bruno Fernando had 18 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, and Maryland kept Rutgers winless on the road.
The Terrapins (18-11, 7-9 Big Ten) scored the game’s first 10 points, led 31-19 at halftime and opened the second half with another 10-0 run to pull away.
Fernando led the charge with a dominating performance on both ends of the court. The 6-foot-10 freshman made several rim-shaking dunks and was assured his third career double-double with 19 minutes remaining.
The high-spirited Fernando added some spice to the anticlimactic second half by drilling his first career 3-pointer to make it 55-36.
A 10-0 burst by Rutgers cut the gap to 55-46 with four minutes left, but the Terrapins easily thwarted the comeback bid.
Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 14 and Kevin Huerter added 11 to help Maryland improve to 15-2 at home, a sharp contrast to its 1-8 road record.
Rutgers (13-16, 3-13) has lost 8 of 9 overall and is 0-8 on the road. In their four seasons in the Big Ten, the Scarlet Knights are a collective 1-34 in conference road games.
Eugene Omoruyi scored 11 for Rutgers. Corey Sanders, the team’s leading scorer, was limited to 6 points on 3-for-14 shooting.
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