Iowa 99, Slippery Rock 47: No Slips

By RossWB on November 6, 2021 at 10:29 am
go hawks go
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The world got its first look at a post-Luka Garza Iowa Hawkeyes team (as well as post-Joe Wieskamp and post-CJ Fredrick Hawkeyes team) on Friday night in the season-opening exhibition against Slippery Rock and the result was... intriguing? Let's go with intriguing. The Hawkeyes did not slip up, pounding Slippery Rock 99-47.

Iowa bolted out to quick starts in both halves. Iowa jumped out to an 18-2 lead to start the game, before coasting to a 41-18 lead at the break. Iowa added a 14-0 run after halftime to push their lead to almost 40. The Hawkeyes shot fairly well overall, making 52% of their shots (38/73), though they weren't particularly sharp from distance, converting just 6/21 three-point attempts. Iowa used a size advantage to out-rebound Slippery Rock 56 to 34 and buried them in the paint, out-scoring them 60 to 18. 19 turnovers from The Rock also turned into 27 Iowa points and the Hawkeyes finished with a 36-8 edge in fast break points.

With the departures of Garza and Wieskamp much of the scoring load was expected to fall on Keegan Murray and Patrick McCaffery, elevated to the starting lineup this season after mainly serving as key reserves last year. They handled that burden with aplomb on Friday, with McCaffery leading Iowa with 18 points on 7/9 shooting (1/2 from 3-point range) and Murray also adding 17 points on 7/10 shooting (0/1 from 3-point range). Iowa's starting back court of Joe Toussaint and Jordan Bohannon added just 11 total points, with six from Toussaint on 3/6 shooting and five from Bohannon 1/4 shooting (all from 3-point range). Toussaint did have a team-high five assists, though, and Bohannon added three dimes. Two of Iowa's bench guards out-scored the starters, with Tony Perkins dropping 8 points on 2/6 shooting and Austin Ash scoring 10 points on 4/6 shooting (2/3 from long range) in nine minutes. 

Last night was also the first opportunity to see North Dakota transfer Filip Rebraca and true freshman Payton Sandfort in Iowa uniforms. Rebraca completed the starting five (with Keegan, P-Mac, Toussaint, and JBo) but had a somewhat quiet debut, with 6 points (on 3/5 shooting) and 6 rebounds in 16 minutes of work. But he did a good job of attacking the boards, hustling, and providing active defense. Sandfort didn't score in the first half, but had 12 points in the second half and shot 5/8 from the floor overall and 2/4 from 3-point range. His outside shooting touch is likely to make him a key part of Iowa's lineup rotation. 

Slippery Rock was a bad team who was not expected to provide much of a challenge to Iowa and, indeed, they were a bad team who got summarily thrashed by Iowa. It will be a while until we know how this Iowa team will be able to compete against legitimate competition. But last night's game was at least a glimpse of the new-look Hawkeyes, a team that was energetic and active on defense and looking to run early and often on offense. That's certainly a team that we can enjoy watching while they figure things out this season. 

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