IOWA CITY – The Iowa Hawkeyes used an 18-5 run in the first eight minutes of the second half to take a 39-34 lead over the visiting Drake Bulldogs, but as it did in the first half when Drake raced to an 11-point lead, the Hawkeye offense went cold and the Bulldogs used key three-point buckets to claim a 56-51 victory Friday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa’s hot second half start was keyed by buckets on eight of the Hawkeyes’ first 10 shots of the second stanza, the last coming on a three-point bucket by senior Tony Freeman. Drake rebounded, however, taking a 40-39 lead when Jonathan Cox dropped in a lay-up with 7:03 to play.
The Bulldogs stretched the lead to 46-41when Leonard Houston sank a three at the 4-minute mark. It was one of eight three-pointers by the visiting team and one of two that Houston sank en route to 10 points. He was one of four Drake players who reached double-digits.
Freshman guard Jeff Peterson cut the Bulldog lead to two at 48-46 with a layup with just 1:45 to play, but Drake responded on its next possession with a back-breaking three-pointer by Jonathan Cox.
Iowa was led by Jarryd Cole’s 12 points. The freshman center was perfect on all six of his attempts from the field, but, despite being the biggest guy on the floor, he never made it to the foul line. In fact, no Hawkeye made it to the charity stripe. Iowa was whistled 21 times; Drake just 10.
“How about that?” UI Coach Todd Lickliter mused afterward. “Give Drake credit. They played very hard and without fouling. That takes a lot of mental toughness.”
For the record, Iowa was outscored 12-0 at the line. They also limited the Bulldogs to just 35 percent success from the field. However, as has been the case often thus far this season, the Hawkeyes were haunted by turnovers. Iowa committed 16 and the Bulldogs converted them into 24 points.
“We continue to try to do things we can’t do. We need to adjust,” said Lickliter, who noted that some of Iowa’s miscues provided Drake with gimme baskets.
“It’s frustrating and disappointing, but, you know, there are things I could have done better, too. We’ll continue to work through it.
“The tough thing is that this was a winnable game,” he continued. “Drake has a nice team and should be proud of its record, but this game was like a handful of others this year…winnable. But we simply didn’t execute or do what was required at the time it was required. But we’ll continue to work and learn and get better.”
The game had an interesting start: Each team’s first three buckets were three-pointers. Suprisingly, Iowa won the three-point bucket battle, 9-8.
“We were successful getting it inside during that early run in the second half,” Iowa’s head coach said. “I thought we missed the inside guys early in the game.”
The loss evened Iowa’s record at 6-6. The Hawkeyes now turn their attention to final exams before focusing their attention on a Dec. 29 date with Southeastern Louisiana. The Hawkeyes open their 2008 Big Ten Conference season at home against Indiana on Jan. 2.