Iowa 105, Alabama State 78: Cruise Control

By RossWB on November 22, 2018 at 7:04 am
Get some, Maishe.

@IowaHoops

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Sometimes guarantee games live up to the name. Iowa jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead on Alabama State and never looked back, cruising to a 105-78 win over the Hornets on Wednesday night. Iowa led 68-37 at half and spent most of the second half with a 30+ point lead before the Hornets finally chipped away at that lead in the game's final minutes. The 68 points in the first half were a new high water mark for Iowa under Fran and the 105 points overall were the most since Iowa scored 116 on Savannah State in November 2016. 

Iowa did whatever they wanted on offense in this game, scoring 1.33 points per possession on 59% shooting. Iowa was again dominant in the paint (52 points) and at the free throw line (24/29, 83%). They also forced 19 Alabama State turnovers and had a 25-0 edge in points off turnovers. They were also good from outside, at least in the first half -- they made 8/15 (53%) of their 3s before the break. They were just 1/8 from three-point range in the second half, which dropped their overall percentage to 39%.

Iowa had four starters in double figures, led by Luka Garza with 22 points and Joe Wieskamp with 20. Garza was virtually perfect in this game, going 8/8 from the field (including a three-pointer) and 5/6 at the free throw line, which was his only blemish. He also had four rebounds, two blocks, two steals, and an assist and picked up right where he left off after winning the 2K Empire Classic MVP last week. Wieskamp had a tournament to forget in New York City last week, but he made sure that performance was just a hiccup by coming out strong out of the gate in this game. Wieskamp had 18 points in the first half and set a new career high inside the game's first 10 minutes. He finished 6/7 from the field (3/4 from deep) and 6/7 from the free throw line and added five rebounds, three assists, and a steal in a strong overall performance.

Tyler Cook had 16 points on 6/11 shooting, plus two rebounds and three assists, and a host of thunderous dunks, like this one: 

Isaiah Moss had 15 points on 6/9 shooting (nice), including 3/4 from 3-point range. In fact, the only Iowa starter who didn't have a standout performance was Jordan Bohannon, who had 0 points (albeit on just 0/2 shooting), three assists, and two rebounds. Of course, the fact that Iowa managed 68 points in the first half and 105 for the game while getting nothing from JBo on the score sheet is quite a testament to how far this Iowa team seems to have progressed; it would have been absolutely unthinkable for Iowa to have an offensive performance anywhere close to this without a big game from JBo over the last two seasons. 

Plus, while JBo had a quiet night, Iowa's other point guard had another strong game. Connor McCaffery finished with 9 points on 3/4 shooting and added a rebound, a steal, and a team-high 7 assists as well. He dropped in some absolutely perfect dimes, too: 

Iowa also got some solid minutes off the bench from Ryan Kriener, who had 8 points on 3/4 shooting to go with three rebounds, two blocks, a steal, and an assist in 16 minutes. Maishe Dailey also had 8 points on 3/5 shooting off the bench for Iowa. The extended blowout nature of the game did mean that Iowa was able to empty the bench and give several of the bench mob guys extended minutes. They struggled a bit, although Austin Ash and Michael Baer did get their first points of the season. 

The two quibbles for this Iowa performance would probably be the rebounding and the defense. Iowa got out-rebounded 40 to 30 by the Hornets and 17 to 4 on the offensive glass. Granted, ASU had far more opportunities to grab offensive boards than Iowa with the slew of shots that they missed, but Iowa still didn't do a great job of boxing out or grabbing loose balls after ASU misses. The defensive performance was a little lackluster after the strong efforts they put in against Oregon and UConn last week. The Hornets had 0.99 points per possession and shot 45% from the field; they actually outscored Iowa 41-37 in the second half. They also got a little bit hotter from 3-point range in the second half, making 6/16 attempts from deep (after going 4/13 in the first half), which made the score closer. And, sure, I get it: it's hard to play with high defensive intensity when you're leading by 30 for much of the game and your mind is probably already thinking about Thanksgiving. Some slack defending didn't matter in this game because Iowa was so hot on offense, but hopefully they don't allow any of the poor defending here turn into bad habits. 

Still, this was an easy, no-fuss win that featured plenty of offensive highlights and strong individual performances from Garza, Wieskamp, Cook, Moss, and McCaffery. There isn't much to complain about. Happy Thanksgiving. 

NEXT: Iowa faces Pitt in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday, November 27 (8 PM CT, ESPNU). 

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