Hawks Rock the Pentagon

Story by Troy Weiman

Dailey, Moss each drop 16 vs. Colorado as Hawks win fourth straight

IOWA CITY, Iowa – On Thursday, our new contributor Luke Maiers suggested that the Iowa basketball turnaround was on.

The team had won three straight games and put up 90 points or more in each of them. I myself was optimistic, unsure of whether or not the lopsided wins over Southern, Drake, and Southern Utah were reason enough to think the struggling Hawkeyes had figured things out.

But on Friday, the Hawkeyes showed that Maiers may have been on to something.

Iowa topped the Colorado Buffaloes 80-73 in a neutral site game played at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It was the fourth straight win for the Hawkeyes, making it their longest such streak of the season.

Colorado (8-4), like Iowa, is not off to the best start. In any given season, the Buffaloes can usually be found as an eight- or nine-seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they have failed to qualify for the dance in two of the last three seasons. Neither team has exactly thundered out of the gates in 2017, which makes for a compelling, even matchup.

For much of the game, that’s exactly what fans saw.

The seven-point Iowa victory began to take form midway through the second half when Fran McCaffery began searching for energy. The Sanford Pentagon was filled almost entirely with black and gold, but sloppy play shifted the momentum to favor Colorado.

It was Maishe Dailey, the emerging sophomore, who ultimately decided that enough was enough. With the Hawkeyes trailing, Dailey went on a hot streak in which he accounted for eight straight Iowa points, including a three-pointer that put the Hawkeyes back in front.

Suddenly, Sioux Falls began to feel like Iowa City. The Pentagon got significantly louder than Carver-Hawkeye Arena has been this season, and the Hawkeyes weren’t going to look back.

After Dailey’s showing, Tyler Cook and Cordell Pemsl began to dominate inside, grabbing boards and making easy buckets.

Momentum shift back to Iowa. The Hawkeyes cruised to the victory in front of a home crowd away from home.

Five Hawkeyes finished in double figures, as Dailey and Isaiah Moss each put up 16. Dailey’s mark is a new career-high, done in a career-high 27 minutes.

Moss was key to some early success for the Hawkeyes, scoring 11 points in the first half.

At one point in the first frame, Iowa led 28-18, but the Buffaloes ended the half on a 13-4 run and only trailed the Hawkeyes by one at the break. The only Iowa basket in the final 7:41 was a three from Dailey with 22 seconds before half.

Jordan Bohannon (14), Cook (12), and Pemsl (10) were the other double-figure scorers for the Hawkeyes.

02* NUNGE 3 1-2 0-1 1-1 1 1 0 0 10
30 MCCAFFERY 3 1-1 0-0 1-1 0 1 1 3 12
01 DAILEY 16 5-7 2-3 4-6 5 1 0 0 27
03* BOHANNON 14 4-7 1-4 5-7 6 2 2 3 27
04* MOSS 16 5-12 0-4 6-8 4 2 4 3 32
05* COOK 12 4-7 0-0 4-8 6 0 2 4 31
35 PEMSL 10 3-7 0-0 4-5 8 2 1 1 25
51* BAER 2 1-5 0-2 0-0 3 1 2 1 19
55 GARZA 2 1-4 0-1 0-0 4 2 3 1 11


Colorado was paced by freshman McKinely Wright IV, who netted 21 points and dished out six assists. Wright accounted for the Buffaloes’ final eight points thanks to a pair of three-pointers and an assist to Tyler Bey.

Dallas Walton (13), Namon Wright (12), and George King (10) also reached double figures.

One thing about this Iowa win was that depth was important, but not the deciding factor. Down the stretch, Fran McCaffery found a group of seven or eight players and let them run.

With Ahmad Wagner out with the ankle injury suffered against Southern Utah, the Hawkeyes were already shorthanded for the evening.

Brady Ellingson played just one minute on the night and was pulled after committing a turnover. Ryan Kriener played for five minutes in the first half and also gave the ball away twice. Neither saw action in the second half.

Connor McCaffery was thrust into a big role when Bohannon hit the bench with two early fouls. Colorado pressured McCaffery often and forced him to turn the ball over three times. Bohannon would come back in later in the first half, and McCaffery would play just 12 minutes, and only three after halftime.

Luka Garza and Jack Nunge played just 11 and 10 minutes respective, and neither of them played the final 10 minutes of the game.

All of the regulars saw the floor, but not all of them stayed there. McCaffery let the group that included Dailey, Cook, and Pemsl ride the rail to the end. They were rolling, better not stop them.

One negative: turnovers, again. Iowa coughed it up 19 times, which is obviously too high of a number to win most games. Most of those turnovers came in the first 30 minutes of the game, too. They cleaned it up later, but it needs to be cleaner from tip to horn.

Regardless, the win over a power conference team is huge for the Hawkeyes. The doubters and skeptics – yes, me included – can no longer say that they haven’t beaten a worthy opponent. They just did, and they’re feeling good again.

The turnaround is on.

Iowa (8-6, 0-2 B1G) returns to Iowa City after Christmas to play Northern Illinois (7-5) on Tuesday, December 29, at 7:00pm CST.

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