DePaul 93, Iowa 78: Demonized

By RossWB on November 11, 2019 at 11:40 pm
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

College basketball games aren't usually over within five minutes. 40 minutes is a long time, usually, with plenty of time for twists and turns and runs back and forth. The remaining 35 minutes of Iowa's Gavitt Tipoff Games clash with DePaul were just a matter of playing out the string of a 93-75 DePaul evisceration of Iowa, though. Everything you needed to know about this game happened in those first five minutes. 

DePaul never trailed in the game and they opened the scoring with a three-pointer barely 20 seconds into the game. DePaul scored the next 10 points of the game, too, and led 13-0 three minutes into the game before Iowa got their first basket, a C.J. Fredrick layup. DePaul added two more three-pointers after that and with five minutes gone in the game the Blue Demons had a 19-2 lead. Game over, man. 

In all, DePaul went 6/8 from the field in those first five minutes, including 5/5 from long range. Meanwhile, Iowa went 1/6 from the floor with three turnovers. That trend persisted throughout the first half. DePaul ended up shooting 62.9% (22/35) from the floor in that half, including 57.1% (8/14) from 3-point range. Iowa shot just 34.5% (10/29) from the field, and just 25% (2/8) from 3-point range. DePaul had almost as many missed shots (13) as Iowa had turnovers (12) in the first half. DePaul turned those 12 Iowa giveaways into 20 points. Altogether DePaul led 53-30 at the break and the outcome of the game was in no real doubt. 

Barring a stupendous comeback, the name of the game for the second half was simply damage mitigation. To that end, Iowa managed to outscore DePaul 48-40 in the second half, thanks mainly to improved shooting from Iowa -- 51.9% overall, 40% from outside. Iowa managed to even out some of the statistical categories -- DePaul finished with a 25-21 edge in points off turnovers and a 42-32 edge in points in the paint, after having bigger advantages earlier in the game -- but that was all meaningless; DePaul had already delivered the knockout blow in the first half. 

Part of the scoring outburst for DePaul in the first half was down to some simply unconscious shooting for the Blue Demons; they were nailing practically everything they hoisted, no matter where they were on the court. But there's plenty of blame to assign to the Iowa defense as well, as DePaul had open looks galore. Iowa was slow to rotate on defense and their zone was absolutely shredded time and again. This defense prompted flashbacks to the lifeless defense that opponents blasted holes in over and over back in 2017-18. If the defense doesn't improve dramatically, Iowa's going to be in for a very, very, very long season. 

The offense wasn't much better for Iowa, at least in the first half. Ryan Kriener was one of the only bright spots in the opening 20 minutes, with 11 points on 4/4 shooting and 8 rebounds. (He also had four turnovers, but let's focus on the good for now.) The deep halftime hole Iowa was in would have been even more daunting without Kriener's strong play. Kriener finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds in the game, one of four Hawkeyes in double figures. C.J. Fredrick led Iowa in scoring with 16 points on 5/7 shooting (2/3 from long range), though 13 of those came in the second half. Luka Garza added 14 points and 8 rebounds on 5/12 shooting (including 2/3 from deep) and Joe Toussaint added 13 points, two assists, and two steals on 4/7 shooting off the bench. 

Two of Iowa's best returning players, Jordan Bohannon and Joe Wieskamp, had deeply forgettable games as they combined to shoot 2/13 overall and 1/6 from beyond the arc. Wieskamp finished with 4 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. Bohannon had just 3 points in 16 minutes off the bench. Connor McCaffery finished with 9 points (thanks to a 6/6 performance at the free throw line), to go with three assists (against two turnovers). But Iowa got very little production out of Jack Nunge, the fifth starter, or Cordell Pemsl, making his season debut; they combined for 2 points on 0/3 shooting (2/4 free throws) and 2 rebounds in 23 combined minutes of play. 

What else is there to say about this game? 

It was a putrid performance from beginning to end and a truly foreboding way to start the more challenging portion of Iowa's non-conference slate. Iowa famously assembled its most difficult non-conference schedule in Fran's 10-year history this season; based on Monday's showing, that just means there could be a lot of beatdowns in Iowa's future over the next two months. 

NEXT: Iowa hosts Oral Roberts on Friday, November 15 (7 PM CT, BTN+). 

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