Jok, Baer key Hawkeyes' surge

Men's basketball: Iowa pops Tennessee Tech; Big Ten awaits

IOWA CITY — Peter Jok went to the bench, sloppy. He came back in the game, spectacular.

Jok fueled an avalanche in the last 14 minutes of the first half, and the Iowa Hawkeyes cruised past Tennessee Tech, 85-63, in a non-conference men’s basketball game in front of 14,432 Tuesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Jok scored 21 points, just three short of a career-high, as the Hawkeyes closed the non-conference portion of their schedule at 9-3.

“I thought he was a little sloppy early,” said Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery. I jumped him. I yanked him. Then I put him right back in and he just took the game over.”

Jok hit five 3-pointers, including three in the first half as the Hawkeyes stormed to a 43-21 advantage at intermission.

“My teammates kept finding me,” Jok said.

He added, when asked about McCaffery’s “pep talk” early in the game: “We just wanted me to pick it up. I used it as motivation.”

The Hawkeyes were cold early, missing their first nine shots from long range, and Tennessee Tech (8-5) held a 10-6 advantage at the 14:05 mark of the first half.

“I thought we had some really good shots,” McCaffery said. “The key in that situation, you’ve got to keep defending. And our defense was spectacular in the first half.”


Once the shots started falling, Iowa started rolling. The Hawkeyes outscored the Golden Eagles, 37-11, through the remainder of the half and blew it open. Iowa held TTU to eight field goals in 25 attempts and forced 12 turnovers.

Redshirt freshman Nicholas Baer posted his second straight gem, scoring a career-high 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting.

“He does what he does,” McCaffery said. “He scores inside, he can hit threes, he moves the ball, he understands how to play. He’s a terrific player. There’s no other way I can say it, he has a complete game. He’s going to impact the game when he’s on the floor.”

Through the first 10 games, Baer was averaging 3.4 points. But he has scored 32 in the last two games.

Baer’s 3-pointer gave Iowa its largest lead at 67-39 with 13:23 left.

Jarrod Uthoff added 13 points, Anthony Clemmons 11. Mike Gesell scored just two, but distributed 10 assists.

Torrance Rowe led Tennessee Tech with 15 points.

So now the focus shifts to the Big Ten, and a date next Tuesday here against No. 1 Michigan State.

“I think we’re in a pretty good place,” McCaffery said. “We’re taking care of the ball. I think our shot selection is good. Our ball movement is good. We’ve got a lot of different guys producing.”

Gesell said, “We still have a long ways to go to be a championship team. But we’ve got the pieces to make a run. We need to stay in the now. We can’t look too far ahead.”


At Iowa City


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TENNESSEE TECH (63): Ryan Martin 1-6 3-4 5, Anthony Morse 4-6 0-0 8, Shirmane Thomas 2-5 0-0 5, Aleksa Jugovic 2-5 0-0 6, Torrance Rowe 4-14 5-5 15, Markell Henderson 0-1 0-0 0, Hakeem Rogers 5-11 1-2 13, Tre Hansbrough 2-3 0-1 4, Savonte Frazier 0-0 0-0 0, Courtney Alexander 0-0 0-2 0, Mason Ramsey 2-6 2-2 7. Totals 22-57 11-16 63.

IOWA (85): Jarrod Uthoff 5-11 2-2 13, Adam Woodbury 3-4 1-2 7, Anthony Clemmons 4-9 2-2 11, Mike Gesell 1-3 0-0 2, Peter Jok 7-16 2-2 21, Ahmad Wagner 1-1 1-3 3, Andrew Fleming 0-0 0-0 0, Michael Soukup 0-2 0-0 0, Christian Williams 0-0 2-2 2, Steven Soukup 0-1 0-0 0, Okey Ukah 0-0 0-0 0, Brady Ellingson 1-4 0-0 3, Dom Uhl 2-9 0-0 4, Nicholas Baer 8-10 0-0 19. Totals 32-70 10-13 85.

Halftime: Iowa 43, TTU 21. 3-point goals: TTU 8-26 (Martin 0-3, Thomas 1-1, Jugovic 2-4, Rowe 2-9, Henderson 0-1, Rogers 2-5, Ramsey 1-3), Iowa 11-30 (Uthoff 1-5, Clemmons 1-3, Jok 5-10, M.Soukup 0-1, S.Soukup 0-1, Ellingson 1-4, Uhl 0-2, Baer 3-4). Team fouls: TTU 14, Iowa 15. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: TTU 37 (Thomas 7), Iowa 41 (Uhl 7). Assists: TTU 11 (Rowe, Rogers 3), Iowa 19 (Gesell 10). Steals: TTU 4 (Rogers 2), Iowa 8 (Gesell, Baer 2). Turnovers: TTU 18, Iowa 10.

Attendance: 14,432.

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