IOWA CITY, Iowa (Ticker) -- Steve Alford was in a foul mood until Iowa started making its foul shots.
Pierre Pierce scored 19 points and Jared Reiner added 14 as Iowa knocked off 25th-ranked Purdue, 71-61, in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams.
Iowa (8-3, 1-0) won the game at the free-throw line, going 29-of-37 (78 percent) while Purdue shot 7-of-10. The Hawkeyes began the night last in the Big Ten, hitting 64 percent of their free throws.
"We talked about it for a couple of weeks, and whether some people believe me or not, it came to fruition tonight," said Alford, Iowa's coach. "The difference was foul-shooting. When you can make free throws, it makes the offense look better."
Pierce made 13 of his 16 attempts, one on a three-point play with 6:50 remaining to finish a 6-0 run and give the Hawkeyes a commanding 60-50 advantage. They led by at least seven the rest of the way.
The Hawkeyes were coming off Saturday's 76-56 loss at Missouri, after which they held a team meeting. It was their third setback in four games, a streak that included a defeat at Northern Iowa.
"We just decided that we we were going to play from here on out," said Jeff Horner, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds against Purdue. "That's really what we did tonight."
Kenneth Lowe scored 19 points for Purdue (10-4, 0-1), which shot just 37.5 percent from the field (24-of-64) compared to 40 percent (21-of-52) for Iowa. The Boilermakers were 6-of-26 from 3-point range, the Hawkeyes 0-of-5.
"The main thing was that Iowa just outcompeted us," Purdue coach Gene Keady said. "They just outfought us; that's the bottom line. We played like we were scared or not prepared or whatever."
The Boilermakers scored the first five points, erased an eight-point deficit to take a lead early in the second half and stayed within four with 8:05 remaining before Iowa took control.
Reiner and Pierce each had three-point plays for a 60-50 lead with 6:50 remaining. Iowa scored its next nine points at the free-throw line to hold off Purdue.
"I think the guys have really competed," Alford said. "They might have taken it to another level tonight, just because we got some success there. The difference was we made foul shots."
"I'm just glad we got a win tonight," Horner said. "Anytime you can beat a ranked team is awesome, but anytime you can win a Big Ten opener, it's even bigger."