Iowa 96, Lindsey Wilson 58: A Winning Exhibition

By RossWB on November 4, 2019 at 10:32 pm
go hawks go
@IowaHoops (Twitter)

SPOILER WARNING: It turns out a Big Ten team is a lot better than an NAIA team. Who would've thought?! Iowa coasted to an easy 96-58 win over the Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders, but the outcome of this game was never in doubt. Lindsey Wilson was here to get a little experience with a major college opponent. Iowa was here to finally play some live basketball against an opponent other than itself. The goals here were to stay healthy (mission mostly accomplished), work out some kinks (mission mostly accomplished), and get a look at the new faces on the Iowa roster (mission definitely accomplished). 

Obviously the major caveat to this game is that it was against an undersized NAIA opponent; Iowa won't be able to physically dominate too many other teams on their schedule like they could the Blue Raiders. How well the performances we saw tonight translate to bigger, faster, stronger competition is TBD for the most part. That said... 

  • Iowa's starting five was Connor McCaffery (PG), CJ Fredrick (SG), Joe Wieskamp (SF), Jack Nunge (PF), and Luka Garza (C). 
  • Joe Wieskamp looked really good. He was Iowa's leading scorer, with 19 points on 6/8 shooting, including 3/4 from long range. He also had four rebounds and a block. Everything Wieskamp did looked in control and he just looked like a more confident and more assertive version of the Wieskamp who so often dazzled as a freshman. Second-year Wieskamp looks like an awful lot of fun. 
  • Luka Garza was expected to be Iowa's other top scoring option and he didn't disappoint, with 16 points on 6/8 shooting (0/1 from deep). He also had three rebounds and an assist. LWC had no one who could match Garza on defense and if he had played more than 17 minutes and Iowa had made a concerted effort to feed him the ball, he could have easily had 25+ in this game without breaking a sweat. He was dominant in the post. The one quibble about his performance would be rebounding; in Cook's absence he's going to need to have a bigger presence on the boards and it wasn't quite there in this game. 
  • Garza wasn't actually Iowa's second-leading scorer, though -- that would be CJ Fredrick, making his Iowa debut after redshirting last season. Fredrick has been the source of quite a bit of preseason hype and he lived up to it Monday night, with 18 points on 6/7 shooting, including 4/5 from deep. His outside shot looked good and he looked very smooth on offense. He passed his opening test with flying colors.
  • Jack Nunge got the start at the 4 with Tyler Cook off to the NBA and Cordell Pemsl on suspension and while he had the weakest shooting performance of Iowa's starters (4/8 from the floor, 1/4 from deep), he still finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. As advertised, Nunge looks bigger and more filled-out, which should allow him to better withstand physical play in the paint. As evidenced by his 1/4 shooting from 3-point range, his ability to stretch the floor wasn't on display in this game, but that could be another important facet of his game. 
  • Connor McCaffery was the final starter and he was all about the assists in this game; he had eight in the first half and 11 total, against three turnovers. His ability to guide Iowa's offense and hit the open man was key to helping the Hawkeyes jump out to a big early lead. He didn't attempt a shot in the first half, but made his only shot attempt in the second half, a three-pointer. 
  • Connor's brother, freshman Patrick McCaffery, was probably the star of the show for the bench in this game. He had 12 points on 6/12 shooting (he attempted four more shots than any other Iowa player, amusingly) and had two rebounds, an assist, and a steal. (He also had four fouls in 17 minutes, which was not great.) Patrick's overall skills and versatility were clear from this display (his outside shooting touch wasn't there -- he was 0/3 from deep -- but he was a good 3-point shooter in high school and the announcers noted that he'd been Iowa's strongest 3-point shooter during fall practice, so hopefully his shooting touch returns in upcoming games), highlighted by a great dunk in transition off a pass from his brother, Connor. That said, his physical shortcomings were also on display; there's no getting around that Patrick is so skinny. Any concerns about his ability to withstand the physical play he's going to see from Iowa's stronger non-conference foes -- not to mention Big Ten teams -- looks very well-founded at this point. 
  • Joe Toussaint also got to make his debut in this game and his performance showcased his strengths -- and some of his weaknesses. Toussaint's quickness and athleticism were readily apparent -- he looked a step faster than anyone on the floor and was a definite force in transition; he also showed good leaping ability around the basket, which helped him snare 7 rebounds. ("Leading rebounder Joe Toussaint" is a thing that happened in this game.) His shot wasn't there, though, as he went 1/7 from the floor and especially struggled to finish around the basket. He didn't take many jumpers, but did go 0/1 on the lone three he did attempt. It was difficult to get much of a feel for his outside shot in this game, but hopefully the struggles around the bucket were just first game nerves. 
  • Iowa's final debutante, grad transfer Bakari Evelyn, had a debut to forget, unfortunately. In 17 minutes, Evelyn managed no points, rebounds, or assists, which was... not great. He did have a block and a steal. He attempted just two shots, two 3-point attempts that missed (one badly). Hopefully this was just an off night for Evelyn. 
  • Jordan Bohannon made a cameo appearance, as expected, playing 15 minutes and finishing with three points (on 1/3 shooting, all from long range), two assists, a rebound, and a steal. He didn't look quite as active as normal (not too surprising, given his health), but his shooting stroke looked fine. The biggest question for JBo in these early games will be how his body responds to playing actual games; he said he was "pain-free" after his appearance in this game. 
  • Ryan Kriener was the only injury-related note for the game; he came down awkwardly on his foot in the second half and left the game and did not return. He did come back to the bench after a few minutes in the locker room and appeared fine overall. He finished with one point and two rebounds in 10 minutes.
  • Overall Iowa shot 55.7% from the floor, including 44.4% from 3-point range. Those totals factor in some colder shooting from Iowa in the second half; they had 53 points in the first half on 64% shooting and 55% shooting from deep. Iowa had a 19-2 edge in fast break points and a 40-14 advantage in points in the paint. 
  • There's little to complain about in a 40-point win in an exhibition game, but if we were going to harp on anything it would be rebounding and free throw shooting. Iowa won the rebounding battle just 39-36 and lost the battle on the offensive glass 12 to 7. Given the size mismatches Iowa had in their favor in this game, that's not a great figure. And Iowa finished 16/23 (69.6%) from the free throw line in this game. Free throw shooting was irrelevant here, but it will matter later on and it would be good to see Iowa making closer to 75% of their free throws (they converted 73.9% of their chances last season). 
  • It was hard to get a feel for Iowa's defense, given the quality of the opposition and the fact that Iowa substituted so heavily in this game. Let's check in on the defense after a few games to see where it's at. 

NEXT: Iowa opens the regular season against SIU-Edwardsville on Friday night (8 PM CT, BTN). 

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