IOWA CITY – Back-to-back wins have the Hawkeyes back to .500 after a slow, disappointing start to the season.
Iowa defeated Drake 90-64 in the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic in Des Moines on Saturday. The Bulldogs last took the floor at Minnesota on Monday and gave the Gophers their best shot, falling by just one point in a 68-67 tilt.
On Saturday, the three-point shots didn’t fall for the Bulldogs, and the Hawkeyes had too much size and length, allowing them to wear down the Bulldogs in the second half.
Four Hawkeyes finished in double figures, including Nicholas Baer, who had himself another impactful game inside Wells Fargo Arena. Baer registered a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds while adding five assists, five steals, and a block.
Tyler Cook (23), Jordan Bohannon (15), and Luka Garza (13) were the other top-scoring Hawkeyes. Drake saw three players reach double figures in Nick McGlynn (14), Reed Timmer (13), and De’Antae McMurray (11).
In the first half, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery tried to find a group of guys that were going to make things work, and the rotation allowed the Bulldogs to keep pace.
There were 9 lead changes in the first half. Drake led 25-21 late, but the Hawkeyes found a groove and finished the half on a 19-8 run.
In the second half, the Hawkeyes wee just too much. Iowa shot 61% from the floor in the second half and tallied 52 points in the paint for the game.
Cordell Pemsl also returned from injury and played meaningful minutes, pitching in six points and eight rebounds in his first action since cutting up his shin against Iowa State. He also threw down his first college dunk (!!!).
|N. Baer 51||23||5-12||1-4||0-1||5||9||14||5||5||1||2||1||11|
|T. Cook 5||26||10-13||0-1||3-3||1||3||4||3||1||0||6||3||23|
|J. Nunge 2||10||2-3||0-0||1-1||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||2||5|
|I. Moss 4||22||4-8||1-4||0-0||0||0||0||2||1||0||0||1||9|
|J. Bohannon 3||29||6-8||3-4||0-1||0||2||2||7||0||0||1||0||15|
|L. Garza 55||17||4-8||1-2||4-6||3||4||7||1||3||0||0||3||13|
|A. Wagner 0||7||0-1||0-1||0-0||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||1||0|
|R. Kriener 15||15||2-6||0-1||0-0||0||2||2||2||0||0||0||2||4|
|R. Till 20||2||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|C. Pemsl 35||12||2-3||0-0||2-3||3||5||8||1||0||0||1||1||6|
|C. Rose 11||1||1-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|D. Uhl 25||2||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|B. Ellingson 24||12||1-3||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|M. Dailey 1||13||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||1||1||1||0||0||1||0||0|
|C. McCaffery 30||9||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
While not against the best competition the Hawkeyes have seen this year, the team has put up 90+ points in each of its last two games (91 vs Southern on Dec. 10). It’s a step in the right direction for a team that desperately needs to see the ball bounce its way.
But, much like I said after the Southern game, I don’t think the ship has fully been righted. The Hawkeyes have struggled in the first half of the last two games, but seem to explode and wear down their opponents in the second half.
Once the Hawkeyes are able to control the game from the opening tip, I’ll consider some problems fixed. Until then, the team needs balance and consistency for 40 minutes, not just 20.
Iowa (6-6, 0-2 B1G) takes the floor at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday versus Southern Utah. Game time is 8:00pm on BTN.