Iowa downs Tennessee Tech 85-63
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Peter Jok missed a contested shot and quickly followed it up with a dumb foul.
Fran McCaffery had seen enough. The Iowa coach pulled the starting guard after a brief 45-second appearance late in the first half to send a message. It worked.
Jok scored 21 points on a career-high five 3-pointers – three almost immediately after his return to the floor – to lead the Hawkeyes to an 85-63 win over Tennessee Tech on Tuesday.
''I put him right back in and he just took over the game,'' McCaffery said. ''And that's the Peter Jok we need to see. When his game is tight like that, he affects the game at both ends.''
Freshman Nicholas Baer added 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting off the bench and Mike Gesell had 10 assists for the Hawkeyes (9-3).
Torrance Rowe scored 15 points and Hakeem Rogers had 13 points and six rebounds for Tennessee Tech (8-5).
The Hawkeyes had eight steals and forced 18 turnovers in its final nonconference tuneup before next week's Big Ten opener against No. 1 Michigan State.
Iowa fired up a season-high 30 3-pointers, connecting on 11. Not bad considering the Hawkeyes missed their first nine attempts.
Jok and Baer combined to hit eight of those 3s – an area where the Hawkeyes have seen major improvements from last season.
The Hawkeyes ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten in 3-point shooting last year, but entered Tuesday fourth in the league with 40 percent shooting. Iowa has already made 12 3-pointers in a game four times this season – something it hasn't accomplished since 2009-10.
''We score a lot easier when we get stops and run out,'' Jok said. ''We just kept playing defense and the shots started falling.''
Iowa scored 13 unanswered points to ignite a 28-6 run and pull away from a close game midway through the first half.
The Golden Eagles went more than five minutes with scoring during that stretch as a 12-all game turned into a 40-18 Iowa advantage.
Jarrod Uthoff had 13 points and Anthony Clemmons added 11 for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa outscored Tennessee Tech 34-20 in the paint and 19-6 on second-chance points.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes won the only previous meeting between the schools, 96-68, in 1970. . Iowa has won 38 of its last 39 nonconference home games, dating to 2011.
Tennessee Tech: The Golden Eagles haven't defeated a Power 5 conference team since 2007. . All of Tennessee Tech's losses have come on the road, where they're 1-5.
Baer received a standing ovation when McCaffery subbed him out in the final two minutes – a clear appreciation for the walk-on's strong stretch. Tuesday's career-high was an encore to Baer's breakout game against Drake on Saturday, where he had 13 points, seven rebounds and six blocks.
''We can believe in him, we can give him a chance, but he had to make it happen,'' McCaffery said.
Iowa hosts top-ranked Michigan State on Dec. 29.
Tennessee Tech plays Eastern Illinois at home on Dec. 31.
- Anthony Clemmons
- Hakeem Rogers
- Iowa Hawkeyes
- Jarrod Uthoff
- Mike Gesell
- Nicholas Baer
- Peter Jok
- Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles
- Torrance Rowe