The #25 Iowa Hawkeyes wrapped up the non-conference portion of their schedule on Sunday with one final game against a cupcake opponent, Kennesaw State (who entered the game at 1-11). Given the difficult stretch of games that Iowa just completed, though, and the challenging Big Ten games coming up soon, a breather around the holidays is perfectly fine. And, as expected, Kennesaw State posed little resistance to a well-rested Iowa team as the Hawkeyes cruised to a 93-51 win.
Iowa never trailed in the game and they dominated the Owls in pretty much any statistical category you care to look at. For instance:
- Iowa had 27 assists (on 39 made field goals) against just seven turnovers; Kennesaw State had just seven assists against a whopping 24 turnovers. (They had more turnovers (24) than made field goals (19).
- It should come as no surprise that Iowa also boasted an enormous 34-4 edge in points off turnovers.
- Iowa mauled the smaller Owls in the paint, with Luka Garza and Ryan Kriener each posting 20 or more points as part of Iowa's overall 64-22 edge in points in the paint.
- Iowa also crushed Kennesaw State in fast break points (21-3), which probably comes as little surprise after those turnover stats. Iowa had 14 steals which they were often able to turn into fast break opportunities.
And so on. One of the only areas where Kennesaw State didn't get blown out of the water was on the glass, where they played Iowa to a bit of a draw (34 rebounds, 12 offensive boards for the Owls vs 32 rebounds, 9 offensive boards for Iowa; Iowa had just an 8-6 edge in second change points). Iowa dramatically outshot the Owls in every phase except at the free throw line. The Hawkeyes shot 60% from the floor for the game, versus 35.2% for the Owls; Kennesaw State struggled even more in the second half, making just 28.6% of their shots. Of course, it's hard to get up good shots when you're coughing the ball up as often as the Owls where (24 times!) or getting as many shots blocked (8!).
Iowa scored 93 points in this game without even shooting particularly well from 3-point range -- just 6/16 (37.5%) overall -- and while being actively poor at the free throw line (9/18, 50%). Iowa didn't exactly need to attempt more threes when they could get so many good looks at or near the basket. The free throw issue is irritating, although four of the missed free throws were courtesy of Riley Till and Michael Baer (who are unlikely to be attemping free throws in more challenging games). The 0/2 showing from Connor McCaffery was uncharacteristic (and a bit alarming) and free throws continue to be the one weak link in Garza's game this season (5/8 here, 63.6% on the season).
Free throws aside, though, Garza was once again excellent. He had 10 of Iowa's first 15 points and finished with 23 points on 9/11 shooting to go along with a game-high 8 rebounds plus two steals, two assists, and a block. Not many teams have had answers for Garza this season and Kennesaw State absolutely did not have any answers for him. Iowa also got a career-high 20 points from Ryan Kriener off the bench on perfect 9/9 shooting. Joe Wieskamp was the only other Hawkeye to score in double figures, with 18 points on 8/12 shooting. CJ Fredrick had 8 points to go with 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. Cordell Pemsl also had 8 points, as well as 3 assists, a steal, and a block. And Joe Toussaint bounced off from a miserable outing against Cincinnati with a much stronger all-around game here, with 6 points, 7 assists, and 5 steals. Toussaint made life miserable for Kennesaw State's guards and his quick hands helped initiate countless Iowa fast breaks; he did a fine job of distributing the ball throughout the game as well.
Iowa beat Kennesaw St. 93 to 51 on Sunday. The inside game of Garza, Kriener, & Pemsl combined for 51 points. pic.twitter.com/snSV0pPPxR— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) December 30, 2019
There's really nothing else worth saying about this game; Iowa was expected to dominate (they were 29-point favorites) and their performance perfectly matched that expectation. Iowa blew the doors off a bad team and picked up their 10th win of the season. Job done. Now it's time to get ready for the rigors of Big Ten play.
NEXT: Iowa faces #20 Penn State in a neutral court game at The Palestra in Philadelphia on
Sunday Saturday, January 4 (1 PM CT, BTN).