IOWA CITY, Iowa – For the second straight game, Purdue had a chance to beat a ranked Big Ten opponent.
This time, turnovers kept the Boilermakers from pulling off the upset
Roy Devyn Marble scored 21 points and No. 20 Iowa snapped a three-game losing streak by beating Purdue 83-76 on Sunday.
Aaron White and Mike Gesell added 15 points each for the Hawkeyes (20-9, 9-7 Big Ten), who have recorded consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in eight years.
Iowa blew a 13-point halftime lead, but an 8-0 run put the Hawkeyes back ahead 68-64 with 5:56 left. Gesell then hit five free throws in the final 41 seconds to help the Hawkeyes narrowly avoid losing their fourth home game in five tries.
Rapheal Davis scored a career-high 18 points and A.J. Hammons had 16 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks for Purdue (15-14, 5-11), which is on its second four-game losing streak in conference play.
The Boilermakers outrebounded Iowa 40-33, but they committed 16 turnovers.
"The turnovers were the key," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "A couple of them were just not catching the basketball. The other ones were just poor decisions."
The Hawkeyes closed the first half on a 15-5 run and appeared to be just a few plays away from burying the Boilermakers.
Purdue responded with a spurt that threatened to send Iowa tumbling to its fourth straight loss.
The Boilermakers outscored Iowa 27-10 to open the second half, as the Hawkeyes again suffered through the defensive woes that marked road losses at Minnesota and Indiana.
White steadied Iowa with a rare 3-pointer and two free throws, and the Hawkeyes held Purdue without a point for over 6 minutes in building a 68-64 lead.
Marble then attacked Hammons in the paint for a crucial three-point play toward the end of the shot clock that gave Iowa a 75-70 lead with 2:39 to go.
Terone Johnson and Ronnie Johnson combined for just 16 points for Purdue.
"Hammons, he got a workman-like 16 points. His second-shot opportunities impacted the game. We did a pretty good job on the Johnsons, I thought. Those are critical guys," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
Sunday's game capped a stretch of four games in eight days for the Hawkeyes, who followed a scheduled bye week with another game forced upon them by a postponement at Indiana.
Iowa didn't exactly respond well to its scheduling adversity.
The Hawkeyes lost 79-74 at home to Wisconsin before the defeats against the Gophers and Hoosiers — who are both below .500 in the Big Ten.
Purdue was coming off a brutal overtime loss to league-leading Michigan, as Glenn Robinson III banked in the game-winner at the buzzer in West Lafayette that denied the Boilermakers a signature win.
Both teams looked like they were worn out early.
Iowa missed nine of its first 11 shots, and the Boilermakers made just one of six 3-point attempts to open play. But the Hawkeyes got a boost from their bench, which scored 15 points in the first half, and Marble followed a fadeaway 3 with a layup to help put Iowa ahead 50-37.
The Boilermakers needed less than 5 minutes to get the deficit down to 52-49 — a run that sandwiched a stern tongue lashing from McCaffery to the Hawkeyes — and a 3 by Kendall Stephens tied it at 60 with 12:25 left.
Stephens and Errick Peck had 12 points each for Purdue, which might have picked up that signature win had it taken better care of the ball.
"We have to do a better job when we get key opportunities and take care of the ball," Painter said.