Freeman, Tate Sparkle While Peterson Grows, Shines

Jan. 19, 2008

ANN ARBOR, MICH.. — Fans of the University of Iowa men’s basketball team will likely point to Tony Freeman’s career-high 28 points – fueled by a career-best six three-pointers – as the driving force behind the Hawkeyes’ 68-60 victory over Michigan Saturday night in Crisler Arena.

Or they might point to Cyrus Tate’s double-double – a tally that included career-highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds. Or maybe they will point at the combined efforts of Tate and Seth Gorney who, together, accumulated 23 rebounds, the bulk of what provided the visiting team with a 37-25 margin on the boards.

However, Shon Morris, the former Northwestern Wildcat who provided the color commentary on the Big Ten Network’s national television coverage of the Hawkeyes’ second conference victory of the season, maybe found the needle in the statistics haystack.

Morris lauded the play of UI guard Jeff Peterson. The freshman from Hyattsville, Md., entered his 18th game as collegian with more turnovers than assists – not exactly what UI Coach Todd Lickliter wants from a guy he is counting on to handle the basketball and be another floor general for his squad.

The 6-footer was credited with nine assists and whistled for only two turnovers in his best individual effort since a nine-assist effort against Idaho State in the Hawkeyes’ season opener.

“His body language is so much stronger than what we saw at the start of the Big Ten season. He is dribbling with a purpose and confidence and finding his teammates. You can just see him getting better, night after night, game after game.”
Shon Morris of the Big Ten Network on UI guard Jeff Peterson

“He delivered when the Hawkeyes needed him to and did so on the road,” Morris said shortly after Peterson spotted Tate cutting to the basket midway through the second half when Iowa was silencing the Michigan fans while building a 14-point lead.

“His body language is so much stronger than what we saw at the start of the Big Ten season,” Morris continued.

“He is dribbling with a purpose and confidence and finding his teammates. You can just see him getting better, night after night, game after game.”

Peterson paces the Hawkeyes with 62 assists through the team’s first 19 games. He’s averaging just under six points a game – a statistic that belies his explosiveness both on the court and as a scorer. Evidence of the latter is the 20-point performance he had against Northern Colorado.

Of course, fans of the Hawkeyes know Peterson’s development was slowed by a hand injury suffered in early December.

“It’s clear Peterson has a bright future in this league,” Morris said.

Iowa returns to action Wednesday with a road game at Indiana. The Hawkeyes’ next home game is next Saturday when Penn State visits Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a 5:05 tip. To purchase tickets for that game and the Hawkeyes’ remaining home games, click HERE.

Click HERE for the Big Ten Network home page.