Ware, backup Leal help Indiana hold off Iowa after squandering 17-point lead for 74-68 win

Army Indiana Basketball
Posted at 7:16 AM, Jan 31, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-31 07:16:28-05

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Kel'el Ware scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds,reserve Anthony Leal scored a career-high 13 points, and Indiana withstood Iowa's second-half rally and held on to beat the Hawkeyes 74-68 on Tuesday night to end a three-game losing streak.
Indiana entered having lost three of four. Indiana hadn't beaten Iowa since Feb. 7, 2021, in a 67-65 contest. It was Indiana coach Mike Woodson's first victory over Iowa. Northwestern remains the lone Big Ten team a Woodson-led squad hasn't beaten.

Ware finished shooting 8 for 10 and 6 for 11 from the foul line. A former Mr. Basketball in high school from Bloomington, Indiana, Leal entered averaging 1.8 points per game and had only scored 14 points this season and just 16 points over the last two seasons. MacKenzie Mgbako added 11 points for Indiana.

Payton Sandfort had 26 points, Tony Perkins scored 22 and Josh Dix 10 for Iowa.

Gabe Cupps' 3-pointer with 1:26 left gave Indiana (13-8, 5-5) the lead for good at 69-68 with 1:26 left.

Sandfort's off-balance, catch-and-shoot jumper off a cross-court inbound pass from Owen Freeman gave Iowa its last lead at 68-66.

With 2:12 remaining, and trailing 66-64, Indiana's Xavier Johnson drove the lane, tried to throw down a dunk but got fouled by Ladji Dembele at the rim. In the contact, Johnson's feet came out from under him and he appeared to land on his left hand and stayed on the floor clearly writhing in pain before leaving for the locker room.

Trey Galloway made the two foul shots in place of Jackson to tie it.

Sandfort's 3-pointer with 13:08 left before halftime brought Iowa within 19-15 following Indiana's 15-7 outburst within the first five minutes. But the Hawkeyes went scoreless for seven minutes and Indiana scored 12 to build a 31-15 lead until Sandfort made a pair of foul shots with 6:11 remaining before the break. Indiana led 39-28 at intermission.