Iowa 77, UMKC 63: Opening Act

By RossWB on November 9, 2018 at 9:10 am
GO JOE GO

@IowaHoops

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As statements of intent go, Iowa's season-opening game against UMKC was a resounding "meh." Iowa led 34-26 at the half and eventually won 77-63, but they had to labor to get there. This was a disjointed performance in several ways and one with room for plenty of improvement. 

In the first half, Iowa couldn't buy a shot outside of Joe Wieskamp -- they shot 8/25 from the floor and non-Wieskamp players shot 4/18. In the second half, their shooting picked up -- they made 13/22 (59%) from the floor -- but turnovers (10!) and some improved 3-point shooting from UMKC (6/13, 46%) helped the 'Roos kinda-sorta hang around for most of the game. UMKC didn't make as much hay off those Iowa giveaways as they could have -- they scored just 15 points from Iowa's 16 total turnovers, but those turnovers and a slight edge on the offensive glass (8 to 7) helped them stay closer to Iowa. 

Outside of Wieskamp's sharp debut (he had 12 points on 4/5 shooting from 3-point range in the first half), Iowa was able to go into half time with the lead because they got to the free throw line a lot -- and made their freebies. They shot 13/16 at the line in the first half. That strong free throw shooting mostly held up throughout the game -- they made 15/22 freebies in the second half. 28/38 shooting at the free throw line is a good performance -- making almost 74% of your free throws should lead to wins more often than not at the college level. 

Individually, a few players had standout performances. Joe Wieskamp led Iowa with 15 points on 5/10 shooting and added four rebounds and an assist. Not a bad debut for the much-hyped Wieskamp, especially when he was draining threes in the first half: 

He only made one bucket in the second half, but it was a very nice put-back slam: 

Tyler Cook finished with 12 points on 4/7 shooting as well as team highs in rebounds (8), assists (5), and blocks (3). Cook wasn't looking for his own shot much -- he took just two attempts in the first half -- but he was once again an effective facilitator and Cook continuing to develop a strong all-around game should be a big boost for Iowa overall. Jordan Bohannon had 12 points, although he did most of his damage at the free throw line (7/8). He shot just 2/6 from the floor and 1/5 from 3-point range, although his one make was so deep it was almost from the beak on the mid-court tigerhawk logo; shots from that far out really ought to be worth at least four points. Bohannon also had four rebounds and three assists (against four turnovers) and overall looked a bit rusty and out of sync, which is not surprising for a player who missed practice time in the run-up to the season. 

Iowa's other double-digit scorer was an unexpected source -- Maishe Dailey had 11 points off the bench on 3/6 shooting. Dailey played 21 minutes while starter Isaiah Moss played just 15 minutes; he had 3 points on 1/4 shooting and 2 rebounds. Fran turned to Dailey to provide a spark and he responded very well; if Dailey does that and Fran continues to experiment with a McCaffery-Bohannon backcourt (as he did briefly tonight), Moss could find his playing time limited. Among Iowa's other reserves, Connor McCaffery played 20 minutes and had 7 points on 1/2 shooting (he was 5/5 at the free throw line) and 3 assists with no turnovers. His +14 plus-minus rating was also tied with Cook for the highest rating on the team. 

In the front court, Garza had 8 points on 2/5 shooting and 3 rebounds, while Ryan Kriener had 6 points on 2/5 shooting, 8 rebounds, and a block in his 16 minutes of action. Nicholas Baer struggled to score the ball (he had 3 points on 1/3 shooting from the floor and 1/4 shooting from the free throw line), but he did grab six rebounds, two steals, and a block in his 15 minutes. Cordell Pemsl surprisingly didn't attempt a shot in his 14 minutes on the floor, but he did have two rebounds and an assist. 

One of the reasons for Iowa's poor shooting was their willingness to hoist it up from deep -- and no one was making threes outside of Wieskamp. Iowa shot just 7/25 from long range and non-Wieskamp players were 3/19. Iowa won't shoot that badly from 3-point range that often, but I don't think a winning blueprint for Iowa will often feature them shooting more 3s than 2s (25 vs 22 tonight). Iowa's offensive approach will be worth watching as the season unfolds. 

Defense was one of the key questions for Iowa entering the season -- if not the key question -- and they were mostly solid on that front in this game. UMKC shot 23/64 (35.9%) from the floor for the game and 9/27 (33.3%) from deep. Those numbers will definitely work for Iowa, although the question is how much of that poor shooting was down to Iowa's defense and how much was a result of UMKC just missing open shots. The 'Roos definitely missed quite a few open looks, but Iowa did do a good job at times of forcing UMKC into bad looks (or no looks). They need to do a better job of keeping opponents off the offensive glass, though, as UMKC had 9 offensive rebounds. Iowa's defense is going to be a work in progress this year and they'll face much stiffer tests than UMKC, but there were a few signs of improvement here. 

Check out video from Iowa's win here: 

NEXT: Iowa hosts Alabama State at home on Sunday (2 PM CT, BTN Plus). 

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