Iowa beats Pepperdine 72-61

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa learned how much it needs to improve after a disappointing trip to New York.

The Hawkeyes began the process of bouncing back with an up-and-down win over Pepperdine.

Senior Aaron White scored 17 points with nine rebounds and four steals and Iowa held off Pepperdine 72-61 on Monday, snapping a two-game losing streak.

Mike Gesell and Jarrod Uthoff had 15 points apiece for the Hawkeyes (3-2), who never trailed but nonetheless struggled at times against the Waves (3-1).

”Our execution wasn’t as sharp as it needs to be,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. ”It has to get better. But we executed when we had to.”

Pepperdine got as close as 39-36 before Iowa responded with an 11-0 run. Still, the Waves kept their deficit within single digits for much of the second half.

Shawn Olden had 17 points while Stacy Davis added 13 points and nine boards for Pepperdine, whose winning streak was halted at three games.

The Hawkeyes were certainly happy to be back in Iowa City after losing to Texas and Syracuse in New York last week.

They didn’t look very comfortable on their home court in the first half though.

Iowa let a 10-point lead dwindle to 35-30 by the end of the half, which it closed by missing seven straight shots. The Hawkeyes let Pepperdine creep as close as 39-36 before Anthony Clemmons hit a 3 and a transition layup to spark the game-deciding run.

Uthoff’s mid-range jumper made it 50-36 with 12:25 left.

Pepperdine responded with a 10-2 spurt. But Uthoff threw down a one-handed dunk off an alley-oop pass from Josh Oglesby, and Gesell hit a 3 to push Iowa back ahead 62-49.

”When we were in New York, when our offense wasn’t clicking we would give up easy baskets, offensive rebounds,” White said. ”I feel like we made a step forward in that area where, it was a rough offensive game….in games like that you have to step up on defense.”

TIP-INS

Pepperdine entered play 3-0 for the second year in a row. But it had been 20 years since the Waves won three straight by at least 15 points. Davis and Raines had led Pepperdine’s resurgence, combining 32.7 points and 16.4 rebounds in the first three games of the year. But Raines scored just eight points on Monday night.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes backcourt got off to a very sluggish start this season. Gesell missed 18 of his first 25 shots this season, and Anthony Clemmons had just six assists through four games. But Gesell was 4 of 7 from the floor against the Waves – and had a key steal with Iowa ahead by nine with 3:48 left. Clemmons had eight points, including two 3s.

UP NEXT:

Iowa hosts Northern Illinois on Wednesday.

Pepperdine will host Cal State Northridge on Dec. 4.

STAT LINES

Iowa committed 12 turnovers, but Pepperdine could only turn those into four points. The Hawkeyes scored 22 points off of 19 Pepperdine miscues. The Waves also struggled at the free throw line, hitting just 16 of 26.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

McCaffery had a few outbursts during the course of the game, even slamming his fists into the scorer’s table at one point. But he was able to joke about one frustrating miscommunication. ”We lined up wrong in a press attack when I just diagrammed it. Jarrod says `Coach, I got confused. You wrote J.U. I though you wrote J.O.’ (for Josh Oglesby). That’s Jarrod for you right there,” McCaffery said with a smile.

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