BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Sometimes a guy has to believe. The same with a coach. Sometimes, if you’re Armaan Franklin and you’ve battled foul trouble and 1-for-9 shooting, you have to forget that and make a play. Sometimes, if you’re Archie Miller, you have to give him the chance to make it.
And so Indiana’s sophomore guard — and its coach — did.
Franklin’s pull-up jumper over 6-6 Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp with 1.6 seconds left gave IU a 67-65 victory over No. 8 Iowa Sunday afternoon in a riveting game that featured six ties and eight lead changes.
It also gave the Hoosiers (10-8 overall, 5-6 in the Big Ten) a sweep of the season series.
“It was good for this one to go,” Franklin said in an understatement.
Franklin got the chance because Miller got him the ball in the closing seconds of a tie game.
“He was the guy we wanted to get the ball to,” Miller said. “He’s our most physical guard and he can get to the basket.”
Or hit a pull-up jumper if he can’t.
“That’s part of his game,” Miller said. “Thankfully, it went in.”
As for Franklin’s previous shooting struggles, Miller added, “I’m not worried about his confidence. He stayed ready.”
As soon as Franklin made the shot, he pointed to family and friends in the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall stands as teammates swarmed him, but didn’t lose perspective
“I knew we needed one more stop to win the game.”
A game of streaks came down to toughness, defense, total contribution (nine Hoosiers scored at least three points) and a couple of timely baskets (Miller called Rob Phinisee’s 3-pointer with 90 seconds left that tied it at 61-61 the “game’s biggest basket”).
“This was a total team effort,” Miller said. “That’s not just coach-speak. There was not one guy who didn’t do something to help us. That’s a testament to their work ethic.”
IU, after a series of gut-wrenching losses, including two straight at home, finally came through.
“We found a way,” Miller said. “Hopefully this gives us a shot in the arm and confidence.”
Franklin finished with four points on 2-for-10 shooting. But he had six rebounds, five assists and one turnover, plus some stingy defense, to make up for it.
Plus, of course, one huge basket.
He was joined by Phinisee, whose 1-for-8 shooting was capped by that dramatic 3-pointer.
“We were in huge trouble,” Miller said about Phinisee’s basket. “He rose up and hit one. He did not have his best week, but he finished the game.”
Doubt never entered into it, Franklin added about himself and Phinisee.
“Our teammates believe in us that we’d hit the big shot,” Franklin said. “You have to keep shooting. Everybody else has the confidence to get you the ball in those big moments.”
Forward Trayce Jackson-Davis led IU with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Forward Race Thompson added 15 points, six rebounds and physical defense on Iowa All-America center Luka Garza, who finished with 18 points and two rebounds, well below his averages of 25.9 and 8.7.
“It’s a challenge,” Thompson said about guarding the 6-11 Garza. “You’ve got to give him different looks. I tried not to let him get the ball.”
Added Miller: “Race does his job. He does what you ask him to do. He’s in the right spots. He takes coaching.”
A 13-point first-half deficit didn’t faze the Hoosiers. It certainly didn’t bother freshmen Anthony Leal and Khristian Lander. Leal hit a pair of 3-pointers, and Lander added one as IU ended the half on a 12-2 run for a 33-31 halftime lead.
Add fellow freshmen Trey Galloway and Jordan Geronimo and you have a combined 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists from the young guys.
“They came in a did a good job,” Miller said. “They changed the game.”
Iowa (13-6, 7-5) has lost its way with four losses in its last five games, including one to Indiana a couple of weeks ago in Iowa City. Second-half defense had been a big vulnerability the Hoosiers exploited it once again.
“We made some winning plays,” Miller said, “which was good to see.”
Iowa opened by making its first three three-pointers to bolt to an 17-4 lead. Adding to IU woes, it struggled to make free throws or layups.
Two Iowa blocks added to the 1-for-12 shooting start.
Enter Thompson, who got a three-point play and forced Garza’s second foul, sending him to the bench for the final 12 minutes of the half.
The Hoosiers ratcheted up the defense, forced turnovers and began closing the gap, even with the Hawkeyes extending their three-point-opening run to five straight.
Geronimo got a couple of dunks. Jackson-Davis scored on a put-back.
That was just the preliminary. IU ended the half on a 9-0 run, including two three-pointers from Leal and one by Lander, for a 33-31 halftime lead.
The Hoosiers were 5-for-27 from the field in the 15 minutes. They were 6-for-7 in the final five.
Iowa got Garza back for the second half. He scored the Hawkeyes’ first four points as they surged to a 45-35 lead.
With Franklin and Phinisee a combined 0-for-12 from the field for zero points at that point, Miller put Lander and Leal back in.
They helped the Hoosiers close within a point, at 45-44, with 11:30 left.
Seeking a veteran defensive backcourt presence, Miller put Franklin and Phinisee back in. IU forged a 53-53 tie with six minutes left. A Franklin basket off a Phinisee assist put the Hoosiers ahead by two a minute later. They led 57-55 with 3:28 left.
With the score tied at 57-57, Jackson-Davis missed two free throws. Garza muscled in a basket, then another. A Phinisee 3-pointer tied it at 61-61 with 90 seconds left.
A Thompson basket put IU ahead 63-62 with 55 seconds left. Jackson-Davis added two free throws 15 seconds later. A Bohannon three-pointer tied it 15 seconds after that.
That set the stage for Franklin’s game winner.
Next up – road games at Northwestern on Wednesday and No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday.
“We’re feeling good coming out of this one,” Miller said. “We’re playing hard. We have to stay with it and keep grinding away. In this league, it’s a game of inches.”