Nov. 15, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team made nine field goals in the first five minutes. Visiting Coppin State made nine field goals in the first half.
The Hawkeyes overwhelmed the Eagles over 40 minutes, shooting 55.6 percent from the field in a 103-68 victory Sunday afternoon on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa is 2-0 heading into Thursday’s Gavitt Games matchup at Marquette.
Iowa jumped on Coppin State from the opening tip and never let its foot off the gas.
The Hawkeyes made nine of their first 12 shots to build a 21-2 lead over the first five minutes. Coppin State didn’t reach double digits until the 9:21 mark when the score was 36-10.
“Our first group set the tone, building a 21-2 lead,” said redshirt freshman Brady Ellingson. “That set the tone for everybody else.”
Iowa built a 30-point lead — 52-22 — at the half, its largest of the game after shooting 63.6 percent over the opening 20 minutes. The Hawkeyes made 21-of-33 field goals and limited Coppin State to 9-of-39 shooting.
UI head coach Fran McCaffery played reserves for a majority of the second half. Fourteen players saw action and 11 different Hawkeyes scored.
“It’s critical for any team (to get so many players experience),” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “If every possession in the game was in the balance, it’s hard to do that sometimes. You kind of go back to your veterans.
“Today we were able to leave those guys in, and a lot of good things happened.”
Senior Okey Ukah’s layup with 2:47 remaining put the Hawkeyes over the century mark. Ukah scored Iowa’s final six points.
Ellingson led a group of four Iowa players in double figures, netting 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Sophomore Dom Uhl finished with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting (three 3-pointers) in his first career start, junior Dale Jones had 16 points and seven rebounds, and senior Jarrod Uthoff scored 13 points in 18 minutes.
Senior Mike Gesell had 12 of Iowa’s 31 assists (the Hawkeyes had just 11 turnovers). Gesell has 21 assists in two games.
“Mike is pushing it hard and has his head up,” said McCaffery. “He’s making good decisions. When your bigs are running, you want to load them up, or they stop running. He knows that, and we’ll keep throwing it to him.”
The Hawkeyes shot 55.6 percent (40-of-72) for the game, which included a 12-of-28 effort from 3-point range. Iowa scored 50 of its points in the paint and got 58 points from its reserves. Iowa won the rebounding battle, 51-44.
Coppin State shot 23.1 percent in the first half and 32.4 percent for the game. Terry Harris posted a double-double to lead the Eagles, finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Hawkeyes return to action Thursday, traveling to Milwaukee to face Marquette. The game is slated for an 8 p.m. (CT) start.
“We have had some veterans and young guys step up, and we’ve played four games now,” said McCaffery. “I feel good about where they are.”