Sunday, June 26, 2022

Iowa basketball’s week to remember capped off with true team title

INDIANAPOLIS — To break up the Purdue stranglehold on his team, Fran McCaffery was determined to throw everything and everybody toward the Boilermakers in Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament championship game.

What unfolded at Gainbridge Fieldhouse was a team-wide strategy from McCaffery’s Iowa Hawkeyes in an attempt to chop down the Purdue giants.

McCaffery leaned on everyone, from super sophomore Keegan Murray to his rarely-used big men off the bench.

Deep Iowa bench players Riley Mulvey, left, and Payton Sandfort aim to defend Purdue's Eric Hunter Jr.  during the first half of Sunday's Big Ten Championship.

And, lo and behold, it worked.

The fifth-seeded Hawkeyes, picked to finish ninth in the conference in a preseason media poll, are your 2022 Big Ten Tournament champions. A 75-66 win against third-seeded Purdue, a team that swept them in two regular-season meetings and has tormented them for years, secured this team’s place in Hawkeye history.

“We knew we were destined for greatness,” Murray said. “We changed the history of the Iowa program today.”

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