By DEREK SAWVELL
IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa held Northern Colorado to 36-percent shooting from the field (18 of 50) and forced 23 turnovers to defeat the Bears 59-47 in men’s basketball on Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. With the win Iowa moves to 2-0 on the season while the Bears fall to 1-2.
Iowa Head Coach Todd Lickliter expressed shock after the game when speaking about the Iowa’s 22 turnovers.
“I’m almost speechless when it comes to the turnovers,” Lickliter said.
Northern Colorado was forced into 23 miscues of its own leading Head Coach Tad Boyle to question his team’s ball handling abilities.
“Iowa doesn’t press you very much and we still had a lot of turnovers,” Boyle said. “That has been the tale of our game. That’s our Achilles heel. But you have to give it to Iowa. They were the better team tonight.”
Iowa freshman guard Jeff Peterson led the offensive charge for the Hawkeyes shooting 7-of-10 from the floor and scoring 20 points. Iowa sophomore Dan Bohall chipped in 14 points including 7-of-8 free-throws.
The first six minutes of the game were dominated by Peterson, who scored all of Iowa’s first six points, followed by two buckets from Cyrus Tate to give the Hawkeyes an early 10-5 edge. Bohall later scored eight straight points for the Hawkeyes to give Iowa a 22-14 lead. Tate finished the night with seven points and three rebounds.
Northern Colorado slowly climbed back into the game, cutting Iowa’s lead to 22-19 shortly before Iowa senior guard Justin Johnson drove to the basket and found fellow senior Kurt Looby for a two-handed jam just before the half giving Iowa a 26-20 lead at the break.
The Bears started the second half on a 10-3 run to take their first lead of the game 30-29. Peterson again stepped up for the Hawkeyes, scoring six of Iowa’s next seven points to regain the lead for 36-30.
Boyle spoke highly of Peterson’s performance.
“For a freshman to play like that down the stretch says a lot about his character,” Boyle said.
Lickliter was impressed with the poise of the Hawkeyes.
“When (Northern Colorado) made a run in the second half and tied the game, you watch teams and see what they do,” Lickliter said. “We stuck together.”
Northern Colorado made another quick run to tie the game 38-38 with back-to-back three-point baskets by senior Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos.
That would prove to be the Bears’ last effort to stay in the game as Johnson hit his only shot of the night — a three-pointer — to ignite the crowd and put the Hawkeyes up 47-42. Northern Colorado played tight defense on Johnson, who scored 21 points in Iowa’s opener, not allowing him to get many open looks at the basket.
Late free-throws put the game away for the Hawkeyes as they went on a 12-5 run to win by the 12-point margin.
Iowa returns home Sunday, Nov. 18, against Florida Gulf Coast at 1:05 p.m.