Two games, two wins, two dominating performances by Iowa men's basketball to get the 2021-22 season underway. Granted, that's to be expected when you open the season with Longwood (KenPom: 247) and UMKC (KenPom: 254). But it's always good to do the damn thing and beat the brakes off an opponent you're expected to throttle.
This game wasn't a rout from start to finish, though. Iowa jumped out a 10-2 lead behind a pair of Jordan Bohannon 3s and buckets from Filip Rebraca and Patrick McCaffery and maintained a roughly 10-point lead for much of the first half. But the 'Roos did narrow the lead to just 27-23 with four minutes to go before halftime. Iowa responded with a 10-0 run (buckets from Bohannon, Rebraca, McCaffery, and Joe Toussaint, plus a pair of JBo free throws) to take a 37-23 lead into the break. The 'Roos hit a three-pointer out of halftime to trim the lead to 11, but Iowa hit back with an 11-2 run (featuring seven points by Keegan Murray) to push their lead out to 20. That effectively ended the game as a remotely competitive contest; the rest of the game was about deciding the final margin.
After his star turn in Iowa's opening night performance (24 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks), what would Keegan do for an encore? How about a game-high (and new career high) 25 points, plus 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block? Not a bad follow-up outing. He had a somewhat quiet first half (just 8 points on 3/8 shooting, though he did have three steals), owing in part to picking up two fouls. But Keegs was absolutely dynamite in the second half, scoring 15 points on 6/7 shooing (1/1 from 3-point range), while drawing four fouls from UMKC defenders. Oh, and he did cool shit like this:
This Keegan Murray fella is pretty good, huh?
Iowa shot 52% (34/65) for the game (including a red-hot 61%, 19/31, in the second half), despite shooting a miserly 25% (4/16) from 3-point range. It's nice to see this team can score almost 90 even in a game where the threes aren't falling. They managed that by clobbering UMKC in the paint (58-32) and in transition (26-4 edge in fast break points), and by forcing 17 turnovers, which they turned into 26 points. That'll do.
Murray was one of three Iowa players in double figures for the game; Jordan Bohannon had 13 points on 4/8 shooting (3/5 from long range; he's two shy of setting the Big Ten career record for made 3s) and Patrick McCaffery had 10 points on 5/10 shooting. Rebraca had nine points (seven in the first half) on 4/5 shooting and absolutely dominated the glass, hauling in 13 rebounds (10 defensive). Iowa's other starter, Joe Toussaint, had only four points, but did have a team-high six assists as well as two steals.
Several bench players got extended minutes in this one, given the nature of the rout, and Kris Murray was probably again the standout player for the second unit, scoring six points on 3/7 shooting and grabbing five rebounds and a block in his 12+ minutes of action. Payton Sandfort also had six points (2/5 from the floor, 0/3 from 3-point range), while Austin Ash and Tony Perkins had five each. Connor McCaffery had no points but three assists, while Ahron Ulis had four points on 2/2 shooting. Josh Ogundele made his season debut after a minor back issue kept him out of the opener; he had three rebounds and a bucket.
Nothing particularly fancy about this win, but a 30+ point win where the starters look good and the reserves get some solid minutes is just fine in our book. We've seen Iowa sweat in games like this in the past; it's always nice to see them cruise in a game they should win comfortably.
NEXT: Iowa hosts North Carolina Central (0-1) on Tuesday, November 16th (8 PM CT, BTN).