<
>

Iowa ends Hoosiers' Big Ten home streak

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Some extra free throw practice might be
in order for Iowa (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today; No. 18 AP).

Greg Brunner scored 19 points and the Hawkeyes, despite missing
eight foul shots in the final 4 minutes, held off a late comeback
for a 70-67 victory over Indiana (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today; No. 24 AP) on Saturday, snapping the
Hoosiers' 13-game Big Ten winning streak at home.

"It's one of those games where it was just bouncing the other
way," said Brunner, who made two of four free throws. "I haven't
really seen that all year, and hopefully that's not a trend that
continues."

Iowa was 15-for-26 for the game, matching its season-worst free
throw performance. The Hawkeyes' last 11 points were on free
throws, but they repeatedly squandered chances to widen their lead
by making only one of two foul shots on eight out of nine trips to
the line in the closing minutes.

"We definitely have to come up and really focus and concentrate
on hitting those free throws," said Adam Haluska, whose miss with
5 seconds to go gave Indiana one last chance to tie the game.
"That's what wins games right there. We didn't hit them; we still
managed to win. Hopefully we can learn from that."

It was the sixth loss in nine games for Indiana (13-8, 5-5),
which did not have coach Mike Davis on the bench as he stayed home
with a flu-like illness.

Iowa (19-6, 8-3) kept its hold on first place in the Big Ten.
The Hawkeyes led 38-30 at halftime and built their lead to as many
as 16 points midway through the second half before Indiana's final
rally.

"Our defense was really our stronghold there, and our guys did
a great job of hitting some key shots," Haluska said. "We had a
pretty good lead and then got careless. The way they can shoot the
3, no game is out of reach."

Indiana pulled within 66-64 on a 3-pointer by Robert Vaden, and
67-65 on a free throw by Marco Killingsworth. Haluska then hit two
foul shots for the Hawkeyes with 12 seconds remaining and one of
two free throws with 5 seconds left, setting up the final play for
the Hoosiers.

A 3-point attempt by A.J. Ratliff went off the rim at the
buzzer, giving Iowa its fourth straight win over Indiana.

"We didn't execute a lot down the stretch as far as foul shots,
and the more you miss the more tense you get," Iowa coach Steve
Alford said. "It was a combination of missed free throws and not
getting stops down the stretch that allowed them to get as close as
they did.

"I'm just glad A.J. didn't get his feet set. He had a real good
look there," Alford said.

Jeff Horner added 17 points for the Hawkeyes and Haluska
finished with 13.

Killingsworth had 21 points and 17 rebounds for Indiana and
Marshall Strickland added 18 points.

"We're certainly disappointed in not being able to close it
out. It's hard to say we're still learning how to play 40 minutes,
but that's the crux of it," said Indiana assistant Donnie Marsh,
who subbed for the ailing Davis.

"We got some help from them because they missed the free throws
but we still had to make some shots ourselves," Marsh said.

Iowa hit 10 of its first 14 shots, including 3-pointers by
Horner, Mike Henderson and Haluska, and led all the way after a tie
at 7.

A 3-pointer by Strickland pulled the Hoosiers within 28-26, but
Indiana lost a chance to tie when Horner stole the ball and fed
Henderson for a layup. Seconds later, Henderson hit two free throws
for a 32-26 lead.

The Hawkeyes' next two baskets were 3-pointers, including one by
Brunner in the closing seconds for their eight-point halftime lead.

"Road or home, it becomes this simple: Our defense isn't even
close to where it needs to be," Marsh said. "We've tried to
address that in ways, tried to change it, but it eventually comes
down to you being able to take care of your man, and we've
struggled with that too long. We've got to shore up our defense."

Indiana came within six points early in the second half before
Iowa started pulling away. Consecutive baskets by Brunner, Horner
and Henderson gave the Hawkeyes their biggest lead at 57-41.

"We got off to a slow start but played hard on defense and
tried to take the fight to them," Strickland said. "They're a
tough team. They have so many weapons, inside with Brunner and
outside with their shooters. They stretched us out and got some
open looks at the beginning of the game."