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Hoosiers snap losing streak against Iowa

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

By MICHAEL MAROT

AP Sports Writer

BLOOMINGTON -- Indiana avoided making history Wednesday night. Barely.

Devan Dumes scored 27 and Nick Williams had 14 points, while both came up with big steals in the final 36 seconds to seal the Hoosiers' 68-60 victory over Iowa and end an 11-game losing streak. Indiana had matched the school's worst skid ever with a loss at home Saturday to Ohio State.

The Hoosiers (6-15, 1-8 Big Ten) wanted nothing to do with making history this way.

Iowa (12-11, 2-8) certainly helped. Its usually good 3-point shooters were off and their top-notch free-throw shooters were subpar, too. The Hawkeyes made 14 of 21 from the line -- a key difference for a team making nearly 75 percent.

Freshman Matt Gatens led the Hawkeyes with 22 points, hitting three 3s, and Jeff Peterson added 12 points in a contest between two of the youngest teams in the Big Ten.

Afterward, a relieved coach Tom Crean hugged his wife, grabbed a microphone and thanked the fans over the public address system before taking a victory lap around Assembly Hall.

But the Hoosiers almost allowed this one to slip away.

Indiana built a 33-20 halftime lead and extended it to as much as 49-30 midway through the second half before Iowa rallied.

The Hawkeyes, who have not overcome a deficit larger than seven this season, closed to 52-36 before running off eight straight to get within 53-44 with 7:33 left.

Fifteen seconds later, Tom Pritchard, the Hoosiers' most consistent post player, fouled out.

It seemed to open the door for Iowa, but instead, Kyle Taber, Indiana's only senior, posted up for two layups to make it 57-44.

Only then did the Hawkeyes rally.

Aaron Fuller and Devan Bawinkel each hit 3s to start a 9-0 run that got Iowa within 60-56 with 1:30 left. Peterson followed that with a layup that got Iowa within 63-60 with 46.7 seconds to go.

But the Hoosiers, who have struggled all season to put teams away, finally figured out how to close it out.

Dumes stole the ball and after a missed layup, Williams scored on a putback. Then Williams stole the inbounds pass and gave it to Dumes, who was fouled. Dumes connected on both free throws to finally seal it and end the Indiana victory drought.



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