Iowa basketball beat Rutgers 83-63 to earn their first road win of the season.
Not many people would have thought Iowa basketball‘s second game without Peter Jok would be better than their first, even if their opponent was Rutgers. Away games have not been Iowa’s friend this season and their play has been inconsistent in Big Ten action.
The Hawkeyes proved everyone wrong in their 83-63 win at Rutgers to improve to 13-10 on the year and 5-5 in Big Ten play. Iowa won their first road game of the season in arguably their most complete game of the season.
11 players played for the Hawkeyes in the win and all but Ryan Kriener, who struggled and picked up four fouls in seven minutes, scored. In fact, five players scored at least nine points, including four of the five starters.
Jordan Bohannon paved the way for the Hawkeyes with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 5-of-7 three-point shooting to go along with four assists. He let the game come to him and looked to set-up his teammates which turned into easy shots for him and amazing ball movement from Iowa.
The Hawkeyes ended with 24 assists, which is their most in Big Ten play and second most on the season. As good of a scorer as Peter Jok is, the Hawkeyes have benefitted from him sitting these past couple of games so they could find a rhythm on offense. It has led to amazing ball movement and Iowa’s first back-to-back games of the season with at least 20 assists.
Cordell Pemsl had a huge game off the bench. He finished with 15 points, six rebounds and two steals. He has adjusted well to his role off the bench.
Also, for a second straight game, Iowa was not hindered by a slow start. They jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead and didn’t let Rutgers reach 10 points until the 10:59 mark of the first half. At that point, the Hawkeyes led 29-10 and already had a handle on the game just waiting for the final 31 minutes to run out.
Iowa rarely pulled away more than 20-to-25 points, but they still controlled the game the whole way. They led 48-30 at the half and held Rutgers to 39.1 percent shooting and 26.7 percent three-point shooting in the game.
Iowa’s deep ball helped them gain the lead and stay ahead. The Hawkeyes shot an astounding 61.1 percent from three on 18 attempts to help them shoot 50 percent from the field. That said, their free-throw shooting continued to be a problem at a measly 63.2 percent. Cook, Pemsl and Ahmad Wagner combined to shoot 6-of-12 from the line.
Iowa’s biggest struggle of the night were turnovers and keeping Rutgers off the offensive glass, though. Despite Bohannon not turning the ball over, Iowa still had 14. Rutgers countered with 17, but the Hawkeyes played sloppy at times when the pace sped up.
Also, Rutgers grabbed 19 offensive rebounds. The Hawkeyes post defense altered a lot of their second chances, but that could have been Rutgers’ chance to get back in the game. Although, even Mike Williams who scored 16 points only shot 5-of-15 from the field for Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights top performer was easily Deshawn Freeman. He finished the game with team-highs of 17 points and 13 rebounds. Iowa couldn’t keep him off the glass like last time, but this time Rutgers didn’t capitalize on their second chances.
It feels like a 20-point win isn’t big enough in a game where Iowa had more made shots than Rutgers had points until 9:26 remained in the first half. However, the Hawkeyes dominated from start to finish and their performance exceeded their margin of victory.
Despite the ups-and-downs Iowa has had this season, especially in conference play, the Hawkeyes sit in striking distance in the conference standings. At 5-5, the Hawkeyes are sixth in the conference and have a legitimate shot at being 6-5 if they play up to their abilities against Nebraska on Sunday.