Dec. 7, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Senior Jarrod Uthoff scored a career-high 27 points, helping propel the University of Iowa men’s basketball team to a 90-56 victory over Western Illinois on Monday night on Mediacom Court.
Iowa (7-1) stormed out to a 15-3 lead over the first five minutes and stretched the advantage to 19-6 on a pair of Uthoff free throws at the 13:34 mark. The Hawkeyes made 14 of their first 19 field goal attempts to build a 32-10 advantage midway through the first half.
Uthoff was the show in the opening stanza. He finished one point off his career high in 17 first-half minutes, scoring 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including four 3-pointers. The forward scored 13 straight Iowa points during a four-minute stretch, where he connected on three 3-pointers in an 80-second span.
“I was in the flow of the game and it was one of those days where the shots went down,” said Uthoff. “I was open and I normally shoot open shots. I was feeling it, when you’re in that flow you tend to be in the zone.”
“Jarrod couldn’t miss in the first half, he was playing well,” said senior Mike Gesell, who finished the game with seven assists, his sixth game with six or more assists this season. “We expect nothing less from him. He’s one of the best shooters in the country, best players in the country. He really showed that the first half.”
The Hawkeyes shot 50 percent the field for the game, making 33-of-66 attempts, including a 10-for-23 effort from 3-point range to dismantle a Western Illinois team that opened the season with a road victory at No. 17 Wisconsin. Iowa tallied 20 assists on 33 field goals and committed just 11 turnovers.
“We made great decisions,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “We made good decisions when to put it, when to grind it, and when to throw it in. We were hitting 3s early, so it tends to stretch a defense.”
Sophomore Dom Uhl and senior Adam Woodbury joined Uthoff in double figures. Uhl scored 15 points off the bench, making 4-of-8 attempts, while Woodbury netted 10 points, eight coming in the second half. Uthoff had a game-high nine rebounds.
After leading 53-32 at the break, the Hawkeyes scored 10 of the first 13 points to start the second half. Uthoff’s old-school three-point play five minutes into the second half made the score 63-35.
Iowa led by as many as 39 points (88-49) with four minutes remaining before going deep into its bench.
“At the beginning of each half we played really well and hard,” said Woodbury. “We got the stops we needed to and locked down the guys we needed to as well.”
The Hawkeyes limited the Leathernecks to 34.8 percent shooting and were plus-10 on the boards. Western Illinois committed 16 turnovers, which Iowa converted into 24 points.
Iowa (7-2) heads to Ames on Thursday for an Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series matchup at No. 2/4 Iowa State. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. (CT) from Hilton Coliseum.