AMES – It wasn’t a collapse the likes of which the Iowa men’s basketball saw the last two times it entered Hilton Coliseum, but the Hawkeyes (4-6) again squandered a second-half lead to Iowa State (6-2) and left Ames with a loss for the eighth straight time.
Here are three quick takeaways from the game:
1. Turnovers derailed the shot at a win
It wasn’t the only reason, but Iowa’s inability to take care of the ball for multiple stretches of the second half against Iowa State led to a couple crippling 3-pointers. Back-to-back turnovers led to back-to-back Cyclones 3-pointers and gave Iowa State the breathing room it needed to control the flow of the game.
The Hawkeyes had 18 turnovers, and while that number is high no matter the circumstances, it was situation awareness and decision-making that made a few of them gifts to the Cyclones.
Whatever good Iowa was able to find – and there was plenty, especially in the first half – was undone in those moments. Too often, Iowa State baskets were followed up with a possession that either was a turnover or a forced shot, which is as good as a turnover.
The impatient moments were fewer, but still too many
— Cyclone Basketball (@CycloneMBB) December 8, 2017
2. Nunge, Pemsl bright spots for Iowa
Freshman Jack Nunge had likely his best game in an Iowa uniform on Thursday night, finishing with 16 points on 7 of 14 shooting, eight rebounds, four assists and no turnovers – one of only two Iowa players with a zero in that category, and the only one who played more than six minutes.
His poise in a sellout Hilton Coliseum environment ran contrary to more than one of his teammates, and he earned all 23 minutes he played as a starter.
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Cordell Pemsl also shined for the Hawkeyes with 10 points on 5 of 6 shooting – his superb finishing around the rim returned – eight rebounds, three assists and one turnover in 17 minutes. His night ended early, though, as he crashed into the bleachers of the ISU student section chasing a rebound. He got up limping heavily and grabbing his right shin, which was bleeding. Pemsl left and did not return.
3. An improvement but …
The Hawkeyes looked much better for much of the game. Jordan Bohannon looked back in a shooting groove, finishing with 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting, including 5 of 10 from 3. Maishe Dailey had 18 solid minutes too, hitting two 3-pointers for six points and also had six rebounds.
But in addition to turnovers, Iowa State hit big shots thanks in large part to athletic plays from their backcourt, and moved the ball well enough to make Iowa chase more than anticipate.
And maybe the ugliest stat of all, even more than the turnovers, was 12.5 percent. That’s the Hawkeyes’ percentage from the free throw line Thursday night, where they went 1 of 8. It doesn’t take a math major to figure out that impact.
Iowa-Iowa State postgame coverage