Nov. 24, 2014
- Read the November issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye Android app!
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team found a way to post its third victory of the season — a 72-61 triumph — over a scrappy Pepperdine squad Monday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We just beat a team that’s going to win 20 games,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “Our execution wasn’t as sharp as it needs to be. It has got to get better, but it’s early. We executed when we had to.”
After making 10-of-16 shots to start the game, Iowa finished 15-of-45 the rest of the way to shoot 41 percent from the field. The Hawkeyes made 5-of-14 3-pointers and overcame a 17-of-26 night from the free throw stripe.
The Hawkeyes forced Pepperdine into 19 turnovers, which led to a 22-4 Iowa advantage in points off turnovers. The Waves shot just 37.3 percent from the field, but stayed competitive by making seven 3-pointers (albeit in 27 attempts).
Iowa controlled the action inside, scoring 32 of its 72 points in the paint. The rebounding battle was even at 39.
Senior Aaron White paced the team with 17 points, making 5-of-9 field goals and 7-of-8 free throws. He also had nine rebounds and four steals in 28 minutes.
Juniors Mike Gesell and Jarrod Uthoff scored 15 points apiece. Gesell made 4-of-7 field goals, including three 3-pointers, to post a season-high, while Uthoff went 6-of-15 from the floor and had seven rebounds.
“Mike was great,” said McCaffery. “He had a very aggressive mindset. The 3s he took were 3s he’s going to make. He shot it well, had his pull-up jumper going and was aggressive to the rim.”
After trailing 35-30 at the half, the Waves trimmed their deficit to three (39-36) four minutes into the second half on a Shawn Olden 3-pointer before the Hawkeyes awoke.
Iowa followed with an 11-0 spurt, keyed by five points from junior Anthony Clemmons — via a 3-pointer and a steal and fast-break lay-up. Uthoff’s jumper closed out the run at the 12:32 mark to push the Iowa lead to 50-36.
Pepperdine didn’t go away.
A Jeremy Major 3-pointer with 8:16 to go closed the gap to 52-46 and the Iowa lead shrunk to 53-48 on a Stacy Davis jumper with 6:54 left.
“We were able to hold them at bay,” said McCaffery. “Every run they made, we answered it.”
Gesell helped the Hawkeyes weather the storm with four-straight and seven of Iowa’s next nine points. His jumper and two free throws put Iowa up 57-49 with 6 1/2 minutes to play before senior Josh Oglesby hooked up with Uthoff for a one-handed dunk off an alley-oop to give Iowa a 59-49 advantage.
Gesell’s 3-pointer 22 seconds later gave the Hawkeyes a 62-49 lead with 5:32 to play, but Pepperdine was still in the game with a minute to play before Iowa made 6-of-8 free throws in the final 54 seconds to secure the win.
Pepperdine had two players reach double digits in the game. Olden led the way with 17 points, while Stacy Davis nearly posted a double-double, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds.
The Hawkeyes started the night strong, making 10 of its first 16 shots over the game’s first 8 1/2 minutes to jump out to a 23-16 advantage. Iowa scored 12 points the rest of the half to take a 35-30 lead into the break.
White scored eight points on 4-of-5 shooting, but sat the final 7:47 due to foul trouble. Iowa pushed its lead to 32-22 at the 5:42 mark, but the Waves scored eight of the final 11 points of the half. Iowa made 4-of-16 shots over the half’s final 11 1/2 minutes.
The Hawkeyes (3-2) return to action Wednesday, hosting Northern Illinois at 7:30 p.m. (CT).