Feb. 22, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
LINCOLN, Neb. — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team handed Nebraska its worst home loss inside Pinnacle Bank Arena, cruising to a 74-46 victory on Sunday afternoon. It is Iowa’s fourth Big Ten road win, eighth league victory, and 17th win overall.
The Hawkeyes jumped on the Huskers early and kept its foot on the gas in the second half to post their second-straight blowout win. Iowa beat Nebraska by 28 points three days after defeating Rutgers by 34 points Feb. 19 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I was proud of the guys,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “Defensively, from the opening tip, they were locked in, on the glass they were locked in, and our decision making was good. We played with a good pace for the entire 40 minutes.”
The Hawkeyes dominated the Huskers across the board, shooting 50 percent from the field (29-of-58), while limiting Nebraska to 32.7 percent (17-of-52). Iowa went 5-of-10 from 3-point range; the Huskers were 2-of-18. Iowa won the rebounding battle, 38-30, had 17 assists on 29 field goals, and tallied eight steals in forcing 13 Nebraska turnovers.
“We shared the basketball, we had three guys in doubles, two guys with eight, one guy with nine… it was an overall fantastic effort,” said McCaffery.
Senior Aaron White led a trio of Hawkeyes in double figures, finishing with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds for his second double-double this season. Sophomore Peter Jok scored 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and junior Jarrod Uthoff added 11 and five rebounds.
Juniors Mike Gesell (nine points, seven assists) and Anthony Clemmons (eight points, three assists) combined for 17 points and 11 assists, while committing just four turnovers. Senior Gabriel Olaseni scored nine points.
Iowa never trailed in the game, jumping out to an 18-5 lead over the first eight minutes. Four different Hawkeyes recorded field goals as Iowa led 8-2 out of the gates, and back-to-back Jok 3-pointers pushed the lead to 18-5 at the 12:13 mark.
Nebraska answered with a 9-3 spurt behind five-straight points from Terran Petteway to trim the lead to 21-14 and force a Hawkeye timeout, but it was all Iowa from there.
The Hawkeyes made 10 of their final 11 field goals of the first half in reeling off a 21-2 run to push the halftime advantage to 42-16. White scored the first seven points, which included a flush off an inbounds play to make the score 28-14.
Down 34-16, Nebraska tried to stop the bleeding, using its second first-half timeout with 2:50 remaining, but it didn’t work. Uthoff made back-to-back field goals, including a baby hook shot to push the lead to 38-16, and Clemmons made two-straight layups to push the lead to 26 at the break.
“We got crucial stops, they couldn’t get any rhythm except for that little spurt in the first half,” said Uthoff. “We locked them up.”
The Hawkeyes scored six of the first eight points of the second half to stretch its advantage to 30 points (48-18) and led by a game-high 31 points three times. Nebraska could only muster pulling to within 21 points with 8 1/2 minutes left.
For the second-straight game, Iowa used reserves Kyle Denning, Charlie Rose, and Okey Ukah. The trio played the final 2 1/2 minutes, and Ukah’s first basket of the season pushed the Iowa lead back to 30 (74-44) with 50 seconds remaining.
“The guys have such great respect for those guys and how hard they work,” said McCaffery. “Now they get a chance to play. Okey made a great move, and those guys were thrilled for him. It’s great to see.”
Petteway led Nebraska with 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Walter Pritchford added 10 points, while Shavon Shields was limited to three points. Shields scored 25 during the first meeting Jan. 25 in Iowa City.
Iowa (17-10, 8-6) returns home Wednesday to host Illinois on Mediacom Court. Game time is set for 8 p.m. (CT).
“We’re playing as good as ever,” said Uthoff. “We’re ready (for Illinois).”