Dec. 6, 2014
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The biggest takeaway from the University of Iowa men’s basketball team’s seventh victory — a 77-47 win over UMBC — was the inside-outside performance from Peter Jok and Gabriel Olaseni.
Both players tied career highs, finishing with 15 points apiece. Jok made 5-of-11 attempts, including a career-high four 3-pointers, and had three steals in 24 minutes. Olaseni’s 15 points came off a 6-of-9 effort from the floor. He also had a team-high seven rebounds and three blocks.
“I’ve been playing well in practice, but in games (shots) just haven’t been going in,” said Jok. “I knew sooner or later, they were going to start falling.”
Senior Aaron White and junior Jarrod Uthoff were the third and fourth Hawkeyes in double figures. White finished with 14 points, five rebounds, and three steals in 17 minutes, while Uthoff had 11 points and six boards.
After shooting a scorching 54.5 percent in the first half, Iowa cooled off over the final 20 minutes, but still managed to post a 44.6 field goal percentage. The Hawkeyes made seven 3-pointers and had 20 assists on their 29 field goals.
Iowa’s defense was a catalyst, forcing a season-high 26 turnovers. The Hawkeyes scored 34 points off the Terrier miscues and held UMBC to a 33.3 field goal percentage — its fourth-straight opponent to shoot below 37 percent.
“We weren’t shooting it well (to start the game), but defensively, we stayed after them and turned them over,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “We got some transition opportunities, which was good to see.”
UMBC (0-8) didn’t have a player reach double figures. Forward Cody Joyce scored nine points to pace the team.
After playing to a six-all tie over the first four minutes, the Hawkeyes out-matched the Terriers. Iowa forced 10 turnovers over a seven-minute span, which led to a 20-0 run that pushed the lead to 26-6 at the 9:20 mark. Jok scored six-straight and all nine of his first-half points during the run.
Following six unanswered by UMBC, the Hawkeyes used 20-2 run over a five-minute span to open a 46-16 lead. Iowa led 48-20 at the break, and maintained its lead throughout the second half with its reserves seeing the bulk of the playing time.
“I’m a little disappointed we were seemingly content to trade baskets in the second half, but that happens sometimes,” said McCaffery. “When you’re up 30, you don’t play with the same urgency that you need, but that’s what the young guys need.
“That’s how you earn playing time. You lock into game plan, rebound, don’t turn it over, and defend. If you do those things, you can stay on the floor.”
Iowa (7-2) returns to action Tuesday, hosting Alcorn State at 8 p.m. (CT). The first 1,500 fans will receive an Aaron White Bobblehead.