Dec. 9, 2008
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by Neal Wiebers
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A big second half lifted the University of Iowa men’s basketball team to a 65-46 win over Northern Iowa on Tuesday evening inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes improved to 8-2 on the season with their second consecutive victory against their in-state rival.
“We encountered good things and good players tonight and I thought it was a hard fought victory,” UI head coach Todd Lickliter said.
The Panthers led 22-20 with 1:52 left in the first half, but a three-point field goal by Iowa’s Devan Bawinkel put the Hawkeyes ahead 23-22 and Iowa would hold that lead for the final 20:36. The one-point edge at intermission was extended over the final 20 minutes as the Hawkeyes made 15 of 25 field goals and outscored Northern Iowa 42-24 in the second half.
Jake Kelly scored a game-high 19 points with five rebounds, four assists and two steals to lead Iowa. The trio of Kelly, Jeff Peterson and Matt Gatens combined to shoot 55.9-percent from the field. Kelly was 8 of 15, Peterson, who finished with 18 points, was 6 of 11 and Gatens, who netted 14 points, was 5 of 8. Peterson also handed out five assists with four rebounds. Gatens was credited with two assists.
For the game, the Hawkeyes shot 50-percent from the field (24 of 48), including 9 of 21 from three-point range. Iowa scored 17 points off 10 Northern Iowa turnovers and committed a season-low five turnovers.
“(UNI is) a good team and that required us to play as well as we did,” Lickliter said. “They play solid defense and part of the win was our lack of turnovers and part of it was making good decisions, and that’s important.”
While the final score indicates a blowout on paper, that was definitely not the case. Northern Iowa held the lead the majority of the first half, hammering Iowa inside with 7-footer Jordan Eglseder. The Panthers would go on an 8-0 run to stretch the their lead to seven points with just under four minutes to go in the first half. The Hawkeyes responded well closing the half with an 8-0 run of their own.
The strong defense continued for Iowa, as it held the Panthers scoreless the first 3:11 of the second half. The Hawkeyes would also hold Northern Iowa without a point in another stretch that lasted more than six minutes in the half.
Though it’s hard not to be overshadowed by the great defensive effort, the Hawkeye offense was definitely a bright spot as well.
The Hawkeyes host Iowa State in the Hy-Vee CyHawk Series on Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tipoff is slated for 7:05 p.m.