Iowa Men's Basketball

Will Iowa score 127 points Saturday vs. Savannah State?

Don't laugh. Savannah State surrendered 139 at South Dakota State.

Fran McCaffery talks with former Iowa basketball player Jess Settles after McCaffery was introduced as the Hawkeyes' new men's basketball coach on March 29, 2010. (The Gazette)
Fran McCaffery talks with former Iowa basketball player Jess Settles after McCaffery was introduced as the Hawkeyes' new men's basketball coach on March 29, 2010. (The Gazette)

No basketball team has ever scored 127 points in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. That could change Saturday.

Savannah State plays Iowa in men’s basketball Saturday at noon, and the Tigers don’t defend. Through Wednesday, the Tigers were 353rd of the 353 Division-I teams in scoring defense, allowing 100.1 points per game.

Vanderbilt beat SSU, 120-85. Two games later, the Tigers gave up 90 first-half points — that is not a typographical error — and lost at South Dakota State, 139-72. The next game, Wisconsin ran up 69 first-half points before showing some tender mercy in its 101-60 win over Savannah State.

So, if the Hawkeyes are in the mood to go crazy Saturday, what’s to stop them?

Iowa has scored 126 points twice in its history. The first time was a 126-94 win over Oral Roberts in the third-place game of the All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City. The Hawkeyes were upset by Illinois State the night before after blowing a 16-point second-half lead. Oklahoma beat Illinois State in the title game, 107-56.

Jeff Moe had 29 points in 16 minutes for Iowa. He made 7 of 10 3-pointers after going 1-for-11 over the previous four games.

“They left me open,” Moe said. “I would have left me open, too, the way I shot the last four or five games. I think Oral Roberts had me scouted really well.”

The Hawkeyes led by just 57-53 at halftime, then went to a zone defense. They scored the first 18 points of the second half.

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Oklahoma had beaten Oral Roberts the night before, 144-93. Two years later in the same tourney, the Sooners clobbered North Texas, 147-94. In fact, the Sooners eclipsed 100 points in the tourney nine times in 11 games from 1987 to 1992.

That record-setting performance was overlooked in Iowa, since the Hawkeyes’ football team beat Wyoming 20-19 in the Holiday Bowl that evening.

The school scoring mark was tied in 1994 when Iowa opened its season with a 126-79 home win over Morgan State. Sophomore Jess Settles led the Hawkeyes with 26 points.

The Hawkeyes made just 7 of 25 3-pointers, so this one could have been a lot worse. Chris Kingsbury hit on only two of his nine 3-point tries.

Iowa had a 60-32 edge in rebounds.

“All I can say is ‘Ouch,’ “ said Morgan State Coach Lynn Ramage after the game. “I don’t want to come back under these circumstances. I don’t know what to think now. My head is still spinning.”

It probably spun a little harder a month later when his team lost at Maryland, 138-72.

Morgan State is in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. So, by the way, is Savannah State.

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