#22 Iowa 77, UNI 54: Big Bore

By RossWB on December 15, 2018 at 11:54 pm
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

So this is how the Big Four Classic -- sorry, the Hy-Vee Classic -- ends: not with a bang, but with a whimper. Or at least with a thudding 23-point Iowa win over UNI that was never in doubt. Wyatt Lohaus made a three a minute into the game to put UNI up 3-2 -- that was their one and only lead of the game. UNI made one basket over the next 13 minutes of the game and missed 20 of their first 23 shots. Iowa was up 29-10 at that point and it was easy street from there; they led 39-18 at halftime and boosted that lead to 62-33 by the midway point of the second half. The Hawkeyes led by double digits for the final 33 minutes and 29 seconds. This was one of the easiest wins Iowa is likely to have all season. 

In his preview Pat noted that the match-ups looked extremely unfavorable for UNI and, well, that's exactly the way things played out. UNI had no answers for Iowa in the post, where Tyler Cook and Luka Garza feasted all night long. Cook was particularly unstoppable, with 17 points on 6/7 shooting (and 5/6 at the free throw line) to go along with 13 rebounds, his third double double in the last four games. . He also joined the 1000 point club tonight. Well done, Tyler. Cook even led Iowa in assists with five; all of Cook's skills were on full display in this one. Garza matched Cook with 17 points on 7/14 shooting, including 2/5 from long range. He also had four rebounds and an assist. Ryan Kriener came off the bench to give Iowa five points and four rebounds. Joe Wieskamp was the only other Iowa player in double figures, with 10 points on 4/5 shooting (2/3 from 3-point range). 

Iowa feasted in the paint, but they were also productive from behind the arc. Iowa shot 10/25 (40%) from 3-point range in this game, led by Jordan Bohannon's nine points on 3/5 shooting. Bohannon's shot hasn't been falling much this year, so hopefully this is the start of some stronger shooting for JBo from deep. Wieskamp and Garza added two triples apiece and Nicholas Baer and Maishe Dailey each went 1/4 from long range. Austin Ash even got in on the 3-point fun, draining his only attempt of the game. It was good that Iowa was hitting from deep because their usual strategy of living at the free throw line didn't pay dividends in this one. Iowa attempted just 14 free throws and made just nine of them (UNI actually attempted more free throws, with 15). 

While Iowa's offense was clicking in this one, the reason it was such an easy win was because of their work on the other end. Iowa showed good defensive intensity in this one, holding UNI to 36.4% shooting from the floor and just 20.7% (6/29) from deep. UNI averaged just 0.81 points per possession in this game, their best defensive showing in that state yet this season and their best showing period since holding Southern to 0.81 points per possession almost exactly a year ago (December 10, 2017). Iowa focused on shutting down A.J. Green, UNI's much-hyped freshman point guard, and they did just that, limiting him to just 2 points on 1/8 shooting. The smothering defense on Green came from an unlikely source, too -- Bohannon, who had one of his best defensive efforts in an Iowa uniform. Wyatt Lohaus (15 points) and Shandon Goldman (10 points) were the only Panthers in double figures. 

More highlights here

And that's a wrap on this era of in-state competition. Iowa has played UNI and Drake regularly for decades but that run is at an end, at least for the time being. Perhaps the Panthers and Bulldogs will find their way onto Iowa's schedule at some point in the future, or perhaps our paths will cross again in a tournament somewhere. It's a shame the Iowa-UNI series had to end with such an anticlimactic snoozer of a game, but that speaks to the state of the two programs at this point. Iowa appears to have solved at least some of the issues that bedeviled them a season ago (next step: doing it against Big Ten competition) and is on the upswing, while UNI looks adrift at the moment. 'Til we meet again. 

NEXT: Iowa hosts Western Carolina (3-9, KenPom #310) on Tuesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena (8 PM CT, BTN). There will be points. 

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