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Iowa men’s basketball team speeds past North Carolina A&T, 112-71
Hawkeyes started slow, but breezed to second-straight victory behind starters’ production
IOWA CITY — The Iowa men’s basketball team got stuck for a while Friday night. Then it got unstuck. Then it sped away.
North Carolina A&T outscored the Hawkeyes 11-4 for a 5-minute stretch of the first half, going from 10 points down to within 28-25. But Iowa pulled back ahead by nine, then finished the half with an 11-0 run for a 52-32 halftime lead.
There were no more challenges to the lead, and the Hawkeyes (2-0) won, 112-71. Iowa’s 16-0 run in a 3:03 span early in the second half stretched its lead to 68-34. The Hawkeyes had four runs of nine straight points or more in the game.
The slow start coincided with Iowa getting out-rebounded 20-12 at one point in the first half. It ended with a 42-40 advantage on the boards in addition to shooting 51.9 percent from the field to the Aggies’ 41.8.
“Once we got the glass figured out we were able to take over,” said Iowa’s Payton Sandfort.
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery played his starting five from the final 8:08 of the first half until 15:19 remained in the second half. The starters scored the Hawkeyes’ first 78 points.
Iowa junior forward Patrick McCaffery had a career-high 21 points, nine in the game’s first four minutes.
“I hadn’t been scoring the ball at the clip that I want to,” he said, “but it doesn’t really matter at this point. We’re winning by a lot.
“I’ve always been a scorer. I knew I was going to have a big game at some point. I’m glad it was tonight and I’m glad we won.”
Kris Murray scored a game-high 22 points in 21 minutes. Sandfort had 17 points and Filip Rebraca 12. Sandfort made three 3-pointers for the second-straight game.
Iowa’s Tony Perkins had a career-high six assists. His team had 25 assists to a measly four turnovers.
“That’s just a great representation of our team,” Murray said. “Just a lot of unselfish guys who make the extra pass. That’s how you’re going to beat teams, making the extra pass and not holding on to the ball very long.”
Junior center and fan-favorite Josh Ogundele had career-bests of six points and five rebounds in nine minutes of play.
Ogundele briefly entered the NCAA’s transfer portal last spring before deciding to return to the Hawkeyes.
“I love Josh,” Patrick McCaffery said. “He’s awesome. You can’t find anything negative to say about Josh. Especially as a person. He’s unbelievable. His energy is always super-high.”
Hawkeye guards Josh Dix and Carter Kingsbury added their first career 3-pointers as their team made 11 of 23 from that distance.
Iowa’s next game is Wednesday night against Seton Hall in Newark, N.J. The Pirates opened their season with a 79-52 win over Monmouth Wednesday.
“They have a good team, so I’m excited for the challenge,” McCaffery said.
“I think that we’re ready for definitely more competition and a reallly good team,” said Murray.
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