Nov. 3, 2005
IOWA CITY — Iowa wiped the floor, 97-36, with Brock University of Canada Thursday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the first of two exhibition games that open up the 2005 Hawkeye basketball season.
Even though the game was lopsided and included a 53-10 second-half scoring advantage for the Hawkeyes, Head Coach Steve Alford said that his team was able to take a lot way from the contest.
“It was good for all the guys to get out on the floor,” the coach said. “And we have a lot of good tape to break down tonight and tomorrow.”
Iowa played all 16 players on its roster, with Doug Thomas leading the way with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting. The senior forward, who’s known for his flashy dunks, even managed to get in a couple of jump shots.
“He’s worked on it,” Alford said of Thomas’ jumpers. “We’ve worked hard on pivoting – pivoting and looking at the basket. And it showed up in the game play.”
Alford said that Thomas has improved over last season.
“He got off to a slow start last year and missed fall conditioning,” he said. “Now he’s gone off last season and been healthy, and he looks more comfortable.”
Thomas, who’s fighting a head cold, said he’s become a better-rounded player.
“I feel in much better shape and I feel a lot more confident in my jump shot,” the 6-foot-8, 245-pounder said. “I know I can rebound. Nobody should be able to out-jump me. I feel like a guard, and that’s an advantage I have.”
He also credited the advice he’s received from his coaches for his better performance.
“As long as I keep listening to my coaches, my game will get better,” he said. “Keep their advice coming, then that will open up opportunities to make my game better.”
Thomas said he wasn’t concerned about winning a starting spot.
“I’m not even worried about it because I can come off the bench and electrify the crowd as if I were a starter,” he said. “If I’m off the bench, then I’ll do what I did tonight.”
Classmate and fellow forward Greg Brunner said he’s noticed Thomas’ improvement.
“It looks like he’s a lot more confident out there,” he said. “He’s doing a great job.”
Brunner said that the primary purpose of the exhibition games was to show off the Hawkeyes’ depth.
“Get those guys in, let them run up and down the floor, and they’re having a good time out there,” he said. “If we’re going to have that production and enthusiasm out of those guys, we’re going to have a great team.”
Point guard Jeff Horner, who followed Thomas in the stats with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, agreed.
“We had a lot of guys play very well tonight, and it was a real confidence boost,” the senior said.
“I’ve been waiting for this day since we lost to Cincinnati last year,” Horner added. “It feels good to play a game instead of practice. We’re going to have tougher games than this, but it was a good way to start the season.”
“It feels good to play a game instead of practice. We’re going to have tougher games than this, but it was a good way to start the season.”
Senior Jeff Horner
On defense, Iowa limited Brock to 25.5 percent shooting for the game, including a 4-of-27 performance in the second half. But the coach was most impressed by the Hawkeyes’ lack of turnovers. They had eight for the game.
“That showed that in a lopsided win they only turned the ball over eight times,” Alford said. “They did a nice job of taking care of the ball.”
The Hawkeyes will be in for another day of tough practices before taking Saturday off, according to the coach, who’s trying to prepare his team for a demanding tournament schedule that starts the regular season.
“We could potentially have back-to-back games three times in a four week period,” Alford said. “So we’re trying to prepare them for back-to-back nights – wear them down and push them to see how they can do.”
Iowa will host Wartburg in a final exhibition game Nov. 9 before hosting Maryland-Eastern Shore in the first game of the Guardians Classic to start the regular season.
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com