Game Awards: Iowa Basketball Demolished In Evanston

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Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern beat Iowa basketball 89-54 in their only meeting of the season

Iowa basketball could not bounce back from falling down 8-0 early to Northwestern in their 89-54 loss. The loss drops the Hawkeyes to 11-8 on the year and 3-3 in conference play, below the middle of the pack in the Big Ten.

Nothing went right for Iowa in their loss. 10 players played double-digit minutes but only two scored more than 10 points and four scored five or more. In fact, even Peter Jok only managed four points on 2-of-9 shooting in easily his worst game of the season.

On the other hand, Northwestern played arguably their best game of the season. They jumped out to a quick lead and never let up.

The Hawkeyes battled back a couple of times, such as in the first half when Iowa cut a 10 point lead to three with eight minutes remaining, although, just like every time Iowa made a small run, Northwestern had an answer. The Wildcats responded by going on a 14-2 run.

Led by Bryant McIntosh, who broke out of his season long slump with his first double-double of the season, 20 points and 10 assists, the Wildcats led 44-32 at halftime before holding Iowa to a mere 22 points in the second half.

Iowa only scored four points in the final 10 minutes of the game, as Northwestern went on a 25-4 run to end the game and hand the Hawkeyes their worst loss of the season.

The loss wasn’t as bad as the score indicates, although the ending was. The Hawkeyes kept waiting for the red-hot Wildcats to cool off, but it never happened. Northwestern had four players score in double-figures, as they shot 59.7 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from three.

McIntosh and Scottie Lindsey, who finished with 22 points, spaced the floor and carved Iowa’s defense apart. It led to Northwestern getting easy looks all game and clearing out the paint to dominate on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 39-24.

Despite the score and Iowa only shooting 35.3 percent from the field and a dreadful 23.5 percent from three, players did step up for Iowa. They hung around for a while but couldn’t capitalize on small runs like they did in their win over Purdue.

Here is the starter and bench player of the game, as well as a player who needs to be better in the future.

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Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Starter Of The Game: Tyler Cook

Tyler Cook played 29 minutes in the blowout loss and was the only productive starter of the night. He recorded team-highs of 14 points and five rebounds. He only shot 3-of-8 from the field, however that’s impressive considering Iowa’s other four starters combined to shoot a mere 22.7 percent from the field.

Plus, the best part of Cook’s performance came at the free-throw line. After starting conference play only making 7-of-15 from the line, Cook went 8-of-9 from the charity stripe on Sunday night.

Besides making all four free-throws in Iowa’s season opener against Kennesaw State, this was Cook’s best performance from the line. Of course he needs to show he can consistently hit free-throws, but it’s a step in the right direction, nonetheless, and might be the start of a hot streak from the line.

Aside from his free-throw shooting, it was the second straight game Cook dominated the offensive end. Against Purdue, he went 7-of-10 from the field for 16 points. He showed the same determination to score against Northwestern.

Cook tried to take his defender off the dribble, played with his back to the basket and attempted a couple of mid-range jumpers. He’s still not the most complete offensive weapon in the nation, but his game continues to get better and Iowa needs an aggressive scorer on nights Jok struggles.

Northwestern couldn’t control him on offense, and that makes him extremely effective when he ‘s hitting free-throws, too.

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Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Bench Player Of The Game: Ryan Kriener

Ryan Kriener has been the most effective player off the bench over the past two games for Iowa. He tied with Tyler Cook for a team-high 14 points and secured two rebounds in his bench-high 22 minutes.

Kriener recorded a career-high in minutes played, as well as points. It’s evident that Kriener’s play against Purdue bought him playing time against Northwestern, and it’s likely he will continue to be used heavily off the bench as long as he continues his stellar play on the offensive end.

Just like against Purdue, Kriener made an instant impact off the bench. He scored inside and out against Northwestern. Kriener finished shooting 6-of-7 from the field, including making the first three of his career, as well as making 1-of-2 from the line.

To put Kriener’s impact in perspective, the rest of the bench shot 4-of-14 from the field for just 12 points. In fact, Kriener and Cook combined to score 51.9 percent of Iowa’s points, as they shot 60 percent from the field compared to the rest of the team shooting 25 percent.

Ryan Kriener has been the most unlikely producer off the bench, but he’s been an integral part to Iowa’s offensive spark in the past two games. Sure, his defense and rebounding are sub-par, but there’s no denying the spark he gives the Hawkeyes on offense.

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Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Please Be Better: Cordell Pemsl

In a 35-point blowout loss, this could have gone to anyone. Peter Jok only managed four points on 2-of-9 shooting, Jordan Bohannon only made 2-of-7 from the field and Nicholas Baer‘s three points matched how many fouls he committed. That said, big man Cordell Pemsl earned the award on Sunday night.

Pemsl finished with just two points, one rebound and two turnovers. He missed both of his shots and went just 2-of-4 from the line. Pemsl also tied with Ahmad Wagner for a team-low 13 minutes.

Maybe it’s the little playing time he saw or the fact that he didn’t produce against a frontcourt that doesn’t have the reputation of being one of the best in the Big Ten, but Pemsl quickly became non-existent against Northwestern.

Tyler Cook dominated the touches in the paint for Iowa early in the game, which made Pemsl’s game expendable. Unlike Cook, Pemsl’s offensive limitations are anything outside of the paint. He oftentimes has an open shot in a pick-and-pop with Bohannon, but instead looks to pass and then call for a pass with him posting up on the block.

While Pemsl has dominated the paint multiple times this season, it’s become somewhat of a liability when Cook’s shot is falling and Iowa runs their post offense through him.

The next step is for Pemsl to develop at least a respectable mid-range game to keep teams honest because he’s not a good enough rebounder or defender to keep on the floor when his offensive game isn’t there.

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