Iowa 109, Western Michigan 61: Broncos Bucked

By RossWB on November 22, 2021 at 11:14 pm
go hawks go
© Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Here's what you need to know about Iowa's game against Western Michigan tonight: 

Western Michigan (entire team): 61 points
Iowa bench: 63 points

It was that kind of game for Iowa, one where the outcome was never really in doubt after the opening tip. Western Michigan actually took a 2-0 lead on Iowa, but the Hawkeyes scored the next five points to take a 5-2 lead, which was the last lead change of the game. Iowa quickly built a double-digit lead and stretched that out to 20+ with about six minutes to go before half. And from there the lead just... kept... growing. The lead eventually grew to 50 points in the second half. 

As expected, Western Michigan lived up to (down to?) expectations in this one, on both offesne and defense. The Broncos shot only 38% for the game (24/63) and a particularly lowly 23% (6/26) from 3-point range. And they were barely even a speed bump to Iowa's offense on the other side of the ball; Iowa scored a season-high 109 points on 53% shooting (38/72), including 46% (12/26) from 3-point range. Iowa was dominant in the paint (50-30) and in transition (31-12) and also forced 24 turnovers (!) that they turned into 36 points. Iowa controlled this game in pretty much every direction. 

It was a quiet night for Iowa starters not named Keegan Murray. Murray, newly named Big Ten Player of the Week, celebrated that honor by, uh, setting a brand new career-high in scoring: 29 points on 10/14 shooting (2/4 from 3-point range). He also had 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. Oh, and he scored Iowa's first 15 points of the game: 

Iowa's other starters combined for 17, led by Filip Rebraca with 6 points and 5 rebounds and Joe Toussaint with 6 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Jordan Bohannon had only 5 points (on 2/7 shooting), but also had 3 assists and 3 steals. 

In the absence of big numbers from the starters, the Iowa bench more than picked up the slack. Not one, not two, but three players from Iowa's bench finished in double figures in scoring. Payton Sandfort showed off his sharpshooting prowess with 19 points on 6/10 shooting (5/7 from long range). His ability as a shooter as a true freshman has been a very welcome surprise. Tony Perkins also had a career-high 15 points on 5/6 shooting. Finally, Kris Murray also scored in double-digits, with 12 points on 3/6 shooting, and also had a team-high 8 rebounds, plus a block and two steals. Even Riley Mulvey almost cracked double-digits, with 8 points on 3/5 shooting in 13 minutes of action. Iowa's second unit was absolutely feeling it in this game. 

There isn't much else to say. Western Michigan is a bad team who played badly. But they also played badly because Iowa forced them to play badly, especially in the first half and the early part of the second half. Iowa took them out of the game early, made sure they never got back in the game, and managed to get extensive playing time for the second unit tonight. That's what you want to see out of a game against a wildly overmatched opponent. Job done. 

NEXT: Iowa faces Portland State (2-1, KenPom: 223) on Friday, November 26 (6 PM CT, BTN+).

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