IOWA 94, MINNESOTA 80: THE FRANTASTIC FOUR HUNDRED

By Adam Jacobi on January 30, 2018 at 11:12 pm
Fran Rage Is Contagious
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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You can't spell "four hundrad wins" without F-R-A-N. You also can't spell if that's the way you spell "hundred."

Jordan Bohannon led the Hawkeyes with 20 points and tied a school record with his sixth career game with double-digit assists, and the Hawkeyes incinerated Minnesota in the second half on their way to a 94-80 victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa moves to 3-8 in the conference and 12-12 overall. 

Even better, the win marked Fran McCaffery's 400th as a D-I head coach. No, he's probably not a threat to reach 1,000 like Dean Smith and Bobby Knight and them, but 400 is a LOT of success over a LOT of years, and we're happy for him.

This win was all about the second-half performance, a ridiculous 57-point barrage in just 36 possessions, or about 1.57 points per possession. Minnesota, to its credit, scored 47 points of its own (1.29 per possession, itself an impressive number), and the Gophers were able to string together buckets and get foul calls at will to keep the game from getting out of hand.

Still, the only thing that can start or finish a run is a stop, and Minnesota never could solve Iowa's offense after the break. It's another instance of McCaffery finding a solid 8-man rotation — even if it's not the same 8 guys in a given game — and letting them work into player sets that work well together. Cordell Pemsl and Jack Nunge (more on both in a bit) were especially effective together, and it might be worth exploring how those two can present problems for opposing defenses going forward.  

Going back to Bohannon, yes, it seems weird that 1) the Iowa record games with 10+ assists would be six; 2) only one other player achieved that mark; and 3) that player is the immortal CAL WULFSBERG, from the early Lute Olsen years. But here's JBo, on the precipice of his first of many Iowa assist records. Not bad for a guy who spent the first half of the season looking hopelessly mired in a sophomore slump.

Bohannon was only one of many Hawkeyes that excelled Tuesday night. Tyler Cook added 17 points and 10 rebounds on 7-for-9 shooting, including a fabulous, most groovy alley-oop from Isaiah Moss early in the second half that helped to open a lead the Hawkeyes would not relinquish:

Moss was stellar in his own right, with 16 points and 4-for-6 shooting from deep. Even with two turnovers to his one assist, Moss played within himself and looked as complete as ever for the Hawkeyes, and if that Isaiah Moss shows up consistently, Iowa has something resembling a workable backcourt.

Other 10-point scorers included Luka Garza (plus 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a block), Pemsl (on 4-for-4 shooting) and Nicholas Baer, but the real pleasant surprise of the evening was Nunge — the freshman emerged from the legendary Fran McCaffery Doghouse to log 14 minutes, hit a pair of threes and record a pair of blocks. Even better, his oh-no moments were limited, and for someone trying to regain his coach's good favor, that's critically important.

Look, Minnesota's bad. After the team suspended the alleged sexual predator Reggie Lynch, its ability to play defense was greatly compromised, and it continues to miss the injured Amir Coffey. Iowa probably doesn't drop 57 points in a half on anyone else in the conference. Yes, all of that is true. But whooooo buddy, that was more determination than we've seen out of the Hawkeyes all season long, and maybe, just maybe, this is the win they build on for a late-season push.

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