Iowa and Rutgers played a game of basketball on Sunday. Iowa won, because someone had to win. Let's never speak of it ever again.
OK, do we need more of a recap than that? Probably, yes.
Iowa started slowly against Rutgers and seemed to be low in energy for much of the game, perhaps suffering a hangover from the draining 2OT thriller they played against Nebraska in Lincoln on Thursday. Iowa put together a good run late in the first half and had a 32-24 lead. After the early struggles, it felt like order had been restored and there would be smooth sailing for the Hawkeyes. Nope. Peter Jok picked up his second foul and hit the bench -- and Rutgers promptly went on an 8-0 run and entered halftime tied at 32. Things did not pick up for Iowa when the second half resumed. Things did not pick up for Iowa for quite a while, in fact.
Iowa went over eight minutes (!) in the second half without making a field goal -- Isaiah Moss made a layup with 16:30 to go and then there was nothing until Peter Jok made a jumper with 8:24 to go. Iowa made five free throws in that span. Fortunately for Iowa, Rutgers made only four field goals in that same stretch. Iowa missed seven field goals, turned the ball over five times, and missed four free throws. And yet they were only down seven before Jok made that jumper! Thankfully Iowa finally broke out of their shooting funk at the end of the game -- they made five of their last six field goals, and even improved at the free throw line, making 12 of 13 after converting just four of their first ten attempts at the stripe. Those makes coupled with a misfiring Rutgers offense that also managed to turn the ball over frequently added up to an Iowa win after a pretty ugly overall performance. We'll gladly take the W, but performances like this won't win very many games in the Big Ten.
Peter Jok led Iowa with 18 points, but didn't shoot the ball well at all -- just 7/18 overall and 2/10 from long range. He did manage to haul in 11 rebounds, two assists, and two steals, so he found other ways to contribute as well. Cordell Pemsl added 13 points for Iowa on 5/8 shooting to go with two rebounds and three blocks. But the surprise big performer for Iowa was Dom Uhl. He's been a largely invisible presence in many Iowa games this season, but he was invaluable today -- he had 10 points on 2/4 shooting (5/8 at the line) and also had eight rebounds and five blocks, plus a host of hustle plays. Without Dom showing up big today, Iowa doesn't win -- period.
Nicholas Baer had five points on 2/4 shooting, as well as five rebounds, an assist, and three steals. It wasn't his most impactful performance, but he still managed to make a handful of key plays for Iowa. Tyler Cook struggled to make an impact in his 21 minutes -- just four points on 1/6 shooting and two rebounds. Luckily, Dom Uhl was able to pick up his slack. Iowa got inconsistent play out of the point guard position. Jordan Bohannon and eight assists and a steal... but he also was just 2/5 from the floor (0/2 from deep) and four turnovers. Christian Williams had three steals, two rebounds, and an assist, but he also had three turnovers and missed two layups.
Turnovers were a huge problem for Iowa -- they coughed the ball up 18 times, which led to 19 Rutgers points. Most of those turnovers came in the first half or the first part of the second half, where Iowa was a sloppy mess. Rutgers ended up turning the ball over 17 times for 15 Iowa points, which helped offset some of Iowa's own sloppiness. Iowa also lost the battle on the glass (44-36), especially on the offensive glass (19-9). Fortunately, Rutgers only managed 13 second-chance points off those 19 offensive rebounds. The Rutgers big also punished Iowa in the paint (40-26) behind a big game from DeShawn Freeman (19 points on 9/13 shooting and 13 rebounds). For a good stretch of the game, it seemed like turnovers and poor rebounding was going to lead to a brutal home loss for Iowa. Fortunately, things turned around just enough for Iowa in the final 8-10 minutes to pull off the win. But, please, Hawkeyes, don't play like this again.