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Haluska leads Iowa over Indiana

Feb 4, 2007 - 3:48 AM IOWA CITY, Iowa (Ticker) -- Adam Haluska and Iowa are looking to make a late-season push to get in contention for an NCAA Tournament berth.

Haluska scored 33 points to lift the Hawkeyes to an 81-75 victory over Indiana in the Big Ten Conference.

Iowa (13-10, 5-4 Big Ten) used some outstanding free-throw shooting to fend off Indiana, who were coming off a victory of second-ranked Wisconsin on Wednesday. The Hawkeyes avenged a 71-64 loss to the Hoosiers on January 16.

"Our team's toughness has gotten a little better, but it's not there yet," Iowa coach Steve Alford. "We're nibbling at it; we aren't biting at it. But we're nibbling. We just have to keep doing that."

Iowa also improved to 2-3 against ranked teams this season, snapping a two-game losing streak.

The Hawkeyes hit 12 straight free throws in the final 1 1/2 minutes, including four by Haluska, who scored 23 points in the second half.

Haluska hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Hawkeyes ahead, 52-48, midway through the second half and they never relinquished the lead.

"It was one of those days where our shots just went down," Haluska said. "I was in a good position to shoot. The coaches give me the green light to shoot and my team does a great job of getting me into good position.

"When they are going down like they were today you want the ball in your hands."

Indiana (16-6, 6-3), got within 77-75 on a layup by Earl Calloway with 20 seconds to play, but freshman Tyler Smith and Haluska each hit a pair at the stripe to seal it.

"I'm very proud of this team," Alford said. "This was a very difficult and demanding week, playing three Big Ten teams in a span of seven days is hard. Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. That's quite a trifecta. It doesn't get much more difficult than that."

Smith scored 18 points, finishing 10-of-10 from the line, for Iowa, which hit 21-of-24 free throws in the second half. He also pulled down nine rebounds, helping the Hawkeyes dominate the glass, 42-25.

"Iowa did a great job on the boards today, those kids really competed," Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said. "It comes down to competing on the boards; Iowa beat us on the boards. The team that is more aggressive in that area usually wins the game."

Roderick Wilmont hit six 3-pointers and led the Hoosiers with 24 points, including a shot from the arc with 56 seconds left that cut the deficit to 73-69.

Calloway had 16 points and A.J. Ratliff 15 for Indiana, which lost for just the second time in 10 games.