Nov. 29, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team shot 53.8 percent from the floor and had four players finish in double figures in cruising to an 84-61 victory over No. 20 Wichita State on Sunday morning at the Advocare Invitational.
Iowa finishes seventh in the eight-team tournament, moving to 4-2 overall this season; the Shockers are 2-4.
“We learned this week what we need to do to win,” said senior Mike Gesell. “I was proud of my teammates, losing two tough games and coming back today and beating a good Wichita State team.”
The Hawkeyes led from start-to-finish after shooting better than 50 percent from the field in both halves. Iowa made 28-of-52 field goals for the game, including eight 3-pointers, and went 20-of-24 from the free throw stripe.
Iowa’s defense suffocated Wichita State, limiting the Shockers to 35.6 percent shooting, including a 6-of-22 performance from 3-point range. The Hawkeyes won the rebounding battle, 38-30.
“We put together two good halves defensively,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery, who won his 100th game at Iowa in the win. “We moved the ball, took care of the ball, and they got a few offensive rebounds in the second half during their run. We did a great job on the glass.”
Senior Jarrod Uthoff poured in 22 points to lead all scorers, finishing 9-of-15 from the field. He also grabbed seven rebounds and had five blocks and two steals. Senior Adam Woodbury scored 15 points and had seven rebounds, Gesell scored 14 points and had nine assists, and junior Peter Jok scored 12 points — all in the second half.
Iowa limited Wichita State’s starting five to 20 points. Three Shocker reserves reached double digits with Eric Hamilton scoring 14 points. Starting guard Ron Baker was limited to seven points on 2-of-9 shooting.
The Hawkeyes got off to a quick start with Gesell scoring the first five points and Woodbury matching him, giving Iowa a 10-3 at the 16:14 mark. Leading 14-9 with 11:45 left in the half, Iowa used a 15-2 run to break the game open.
Junior Dale Jones opened the spurt with a 3-pointer to push Iowa’s lead to 17-9 and back-to-back 3-pointers from Anthony Clemmons and Nicholas Baer stretched the margin to 29-11 with 6:33 left in the half.
Iowa led by as many as 22 points in the opening 20 minutes, and took a 40-21 advantage into the locker room after Wichita State’s Ty Taylor II hit a 3-pointer from half court at the buzzer.
“(This week), we had two great comebacks and learned why we got behind,” said McCaffery. “Today we got ahead and stayed there and that’s a sign of a good team.”
Coming out of the break, Iowa scored the first 11 points to open up a 51-21 lead. Wichita State didn’t make its first second-half field goal until the 16:23 mark.
The Hawkeyes pushed their lead to a game-high 31 points (62-31) on a Uthoff 3-pointer with 13:07 remaining.
Wichita State didn’t go away quietly, using a 15-2 run to trim the lead to 68-53 with seven minutes to play. Iowa followed with the next eight points, including a Baer 3-pointer, to push the lead back over 20 points.
“We made enough shots with the lead to win the game,” said McCaffery. “I am happy with how our guys withstood the run.”
The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 8:20 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court.