BLOOMINGTON – Coach Tom Crean honored Will Sheehey before the game for becoming the 47th man to score 1,000 career points at Indiana.
To Iowa, it must have felt like he scored 1,000 more by night’s end.
Sheehey, a senior who has been up and down since joining the starting lineup this season, erupted for a career-high 30 points to lead Indiana to a 93-86 upset of the No. 20 Hawkeyes on Thursday at raucous Assembly Hall.
Freshman Stanford Robinson scored a season-high 17 points off the bench as the Hoosiers (16-12, 6-9 Big Ten) outlasted Iowa (19-9, 8-7).
The Hawkeyes, who entered with the nation’s third-best scoring margin, committed 18 turnovers, helping Sheehey score on a number of run-outs as the Hoosiers scored 21 fast-break points.
Sheehey also hit an array of baseline jumpers and beat defenders on backdoor cuts on his way to 13-of-20 shooting in 30 minutes. The forward carried the Hoosiers on a night Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh combined for just 12 points.
Indiana, which had lost seven of its last 10 games, rose to the occasion and improved to 3-1 at home against ranked opponents, with the other victories over Wisconsin and Michigan.
Evan Gordon contributed 12 points, and Austin Etherington and Jeremy Hollowell had seven apiece for the Hoosiers, who shot 51 percent from the field and made 27 of 38 free throws. Robinson, especially aggressive, hit 7 of 10 from the foul line.
The Big Ten’s fastest-paced teams put on a show former Indiana coach Branch McCracken would have enjoyed. Up and down the court they flew, running off deflections, made baskets and rebounds, producing a welcome departure from the conference’s grinding style.
The teams wrestled with little separation until Sheehey’s tip-in put Indiana ahead 80-73 with 2:57 to go. The Hawkeyes never mounted a serious challenge after that.
The Hoosiers had reclaimed the lead at 62-60 on Gordon’s banked-in 3 with 13:10 remaining. Indiana then stretched the advantage to 77-69, seemingly unaffected by its second-half struggles at Wisconsin on Tuesday.
Indiana took a 43-35 lead in the first half after Hollowell’s baseline jumper. Iowa pulled within 49-48 on Zach McCabe’s 3.
The Hoosiers could not score on their final six trips, and Iowa led 52-49 at the half.
Indiana stayed cold to start the second half, and the Hawkeyes went on an 8-4 run to go up 60-53.
But the Hoosiers climbed back and surged ahead with stops down the stretch. They held Iowa’s electric offense to five points on 12 possessions over a seven-minute span that ended with 90 seconds left. Indiana took its edge from one point to seven during that time.
The Hoosiers enhanced their postseason résumé, gained confidence and got Sheehey, Robinson and Hollowell going in their latest marquee victory.
Indiana has three games left in the regular season, facing Ohio State at home Sunday before a visit from Nebraska and a trip to Michigan.