Stifling defense, offensive screens carry Iowa

Nov. 18, 2007

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IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa used its trademark stifling defense and a received a 19-point, seven-rebound performance from Justin Johnson to defeat Florida Gulf Coast 62-49 in men’s basketball on Sunday in the preliminary round of the South Padre Island Invitational at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa improved to 3-0 with the victory; Florida Gulf Coast is now 1-2. This is the first season in Division I for the Eagles, who were 27-6 a year ago in Division II.

“I think the defense will be the key all the time,” UI Head Coach Todd Lickliter said. “We need to execute defensively. Our guys are defending with a purpose and in the second half I thought we saw that more.”

Iowa held Florida Gulf Coast to 38 percent shooting from the field in the game (19 of 50) and 28.6 percent in the second half (8 of 28). The Hawkeyes also held advantages in rebounding (38 to 28), bench points (16 to 7) and points in the paint (28 to 20).

“Iowa really guards well,” Florida Gulf Coast Coach Dave Balza said. “They have done that throughout this season.”

It is the third time this season that the Hawkeyes have held an opponent under 50 points. They defeated Idaho State 58-43 and Northern Colorado 59-47. Iowa is at home Tuesday, Nov. 20, against Maryland eastern Shore at 8:05 p.m.

The Eagles led 28-27 with 2-minutes, 25-seconds left in the first half before Iowa went on a 5-2 run to snag a 32-30 lead at intermission. The Hawkeyes dominated the final 20 minutes, outscoring Florida Gulf Coast 30-19 while making 11 of 20 field goals (55 percent). The Eagles were arguably the toughest test that Iowa has faced so far and the Hawkeyes responded well.

“We’re going to respect every opponent that comes in here,” Lickliter said. “They have a very good program.”

The Eagles sprinted to a 14-6 lead three minutes into the game before Iowa went on a 9-0 run over the next eight minutes.

Iowa’s Seth Gorney pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds. Jeff Peterson, nursing a bandaged thumb, scored nine points with four assists and Dan Bothall added eight points with four assists. Johnson and Jarryd Cole both had three steals.

After the game, Eagle guard Casey Wohlleb commented that Iowa “set good screens.”

“That’s terrific,” Lickliter said. “I love to hear that. Is that right? Some people think (setting screens) is a little thing, but I don’t think they’re little when you see what it adds up to.”

Adam Liddell led Florida Gulf Coast with 15 points and Wohlleb added 13.

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