DES MOINES – The Iowa men’s basketball team had a little fun and showed Wells Fargo Arena a performance the likes of which most expected them to play with before this season started on Saturday. The Hawkeyes ran away from Drake, 90-64, in the Hy-Vee Classic opener.
Here are three quick takeaways from the game:
1. Complete game
Well, the most complete this year, anyway. The Hawkeyes started slow against the Bulldogs, with a handful of early turnovers in which players were a step slow on finding passing lanes and tried to force things too late.
But somewhere around the midpoint of the first half and through the second half, the team everyone expected to show up before this season showed up. Iowa shared the ball well, with 23 assists on 37 field goals. The Hawkeyes stayed active on the boards, with 14 offensive rebounds and 19 second chance points. They were patient in getting the ball inside after early post doubles led to turnovers.
Perhaps the most surprising part was how the defense was the better unit for most of the game. Iowa forced 19 turnovers, mostly in man-to-man, and the full court press was very effective. The Hawkeyes got 25 points off those turnovers.
This was the Iowa performance the players and their fans had been clamoring for.
2. Baer, Cook, Bohannon lead the way
Something about Wells Fargo Arena agrees with Nicholas Baer.
The Bettendorf grad set an arena record for blocks a few years ago, and added to his career resume with 11 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, five assists and five steals. He became the first Hawkeye to eclipse 13 rebounds, four assists and four steals in game since Reggie Evans did so 17 years ago to the day – Dec. 16, 2000. He had five of Iowa’s 14 offensive rebounds.
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Tyler Cook settled in after some early struggles passing, and while he had six of Iowa’s 14 turnovers, he made up for that with 23 points on 10 of 13 shooting while grabbing four rebounds.
Jordan Bohannon was much sharper than he has been as well, finishing with 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting and dishing seven assists to just one turnover. Bohannon even had an and-1 layup – though he missed the free throw – after which he sat up flexing his arms. It’s been a while since Iowa had that kind of fun.
3. A Pemsl dunk? A Pemsl dunk
Cordell Pemsl finished Saturday’s win with six points, but two of them were a career-first: he dunked on an inbound play mid-second half after a tussle for the ball earlier in that possession with Drake’s Casey Schlatter.
Pemsl returned after a deep laceration in his right shin kept him out of the Southern game, and the dunk was an exclamation point of sorts for the Hawkeyes in general, but also for him personally. He said earlier this season dunking isn’t really his game, but his teammates sure enjoyed it.