ST. THOMAS, USVI — Villanova used its experience and depth and smothering defense to take an 89-60 win over Iowa in the consolation championship of the 2006 Paradise Jam Monday evening.
Iowa falls to 2-2 with its second consecutive loss. The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday, Nov. 25, at Arizona State. Alabama, after defeating Iowa in the semi-finals, won the tournament title with a 63-56 win over Xavier.
Villanova, an Elite Eight team in the NCAA Tournament last season, forced 22 Hawkeye turnovers and held Iowa to 41.3% shooting from the field. The Hawkeyes shot just 31.3% in the first half as the Wildcats built a 41-24 halftime advantage. Iowa pulled to within 18-17 on two free throws by Kurt Looby midway through the first half. Villanova took control from there, using a 16-0 run to pull away.
Villanova’s long range shooting ability kept Iowa from closing the gap in the second half. Villanova shot 60.7% from the field over the final 20 minutes, including 70% (7-10) from three-point range. For the game the Wildcats shot 52.6% from the field and held a 32-26 rebounding advantage.
“We have to learn that when our offense isn’t there, we have to play well on defense,” said Iowa Coach Steve Alford. “There pressure defense was successful in getting us out of our offense, and we let that affect the other end. Our guys have to learn new roles, how to play under pressure with toughness, how to battle through tough stretches.”
Iowa built a 10-3 lead in the opening minutes, helped by six straight free throws from senior Adam Haluska. But Iowa committed 13 turnovers before the break and the Wildcats turned a number of those mistakes into easy baskets.
“We knew this would be a difficult stretch of games for a young team,” added Alford. “We have to continue to teach, stay positive, and help these young guys get through a challenging stretch of games away from home. In the long run, these games against this competition will help us down the road; in December and in Big Ten play.”
Haluska led Iowa in scoring with 18 points, hitting 5-13 field goals and 7-8 free throws. After fighting foul problems in a loss to Alabama, Kurt Looby fought back against Villanova with 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
The Hawkeyes play their fourth straight game away from Iowa City after Thanksgiving, facing Arizona State in Tempe this Saturday. Iowa plays at Virginia Tech Nov. 29 before hosting its own Hawkeye Challenge on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-2.