Bobby Knight wasn’t standing courtside.
The game wasn’t in history-rich Assembly Hall.
But Iowa’s Luke Recker lived through a bit of sweet revenge on Saturday night.
The former Hoosier turned Hawkeye star put on a show, burning his old team for 27 points in Iowa’s 71-66 come-from-behind win over Indiana.
Down 17 at the half, Recker and the Hawkeyes stormed back. A former Indiana high school Mr. Basketball — who left the Hoosiers because of a disliking for Knight — almost single-handily carried his new team.
Seventeen of Recker’s points came in the second half.
After the dramatic win, Recker reflected on what he had just done — and who he had done it to.
“This is a very special win for me,” Recker said. ” I took a lot of heat when I decided to leave Indiana University, and that hurt.
“My family lives there, my friends live there. That’s my home state, and if we had lost this one I don’t think I would be able to show my face in that state again.”
The performance against the Hoosiers, along with the 17 points he had in Wednesday’s win over Minnesota, earned Recker the Big Ten co-player of the week award.
But more importantly, he got the win.
Ohio State pulled off the upset of the weekend on Saturday, knocking off third-ranked Michigan State in Columbus, 64-55.
The Buckeyes were led by Brian Brown, who scored a career-high 25 points.
Ohio State coach Jim O’Brien said he wasn’t shocked by the way his team played against the Spartans — he expects the same effort every game.
“This is what happens when you play tough,” O’Brien said. “If we can keep this up, we’ll be a much better basketball team.”
Big Ten free throws
ùFour conference teams remain ranked in the Associated Press poll this week.
Michigan State fell to fifth with the loss, while Illinois comes in right behind the Spartans at No. 6.
Wisconsin and Iowa also made the top 25. The Badgers are ranked 10th, while Iowa is at 18th.
ùMichigan’s Lavell Blanchard was named the co-conference player of the week alongside Recker.
The Wolverines sophomore forward averaged 23.5 points and 11 points in a pair of games last week.
John R. Carter covers men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]