Dec. 22, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Four Hawkeyes reached double figures, leading the University of Iowa men’s basketball team to an 85-63 victory over Tennessee Tech on Tuesday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa concludes nonconference play with a 9-3 record heading into the Dec. 29 Big Ten Conference opener against No. 1 Michigan State.
“We handled business and got better today,” said senior Anthony Clemmons. “We also had fun with it too. We’re confident and our coaching staff is confident, and we’re walking into the Big Ten with an identity.”
Junior Peter Jok paced the Hawkeyes with 21 points, 17 coming in a 10 minute span. Jok made 7-of-16 field goal attempts, including a career-high five 3-pointers.
“This was fun,” said Jok. “My teammates kept finding me. All I had to do was keep shooting.”
Redshirt freshman Nicholas Baer had a career-best performance for a second straight game, finishing with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting. He went 3-of-4 from 3-point range and grabbed five rebounds.
Senior Jarrod Uthoff scored 13 points and had five rebounds, and senior Anthony Clemmons added 11. Senior Mike Gesell had 10 assists — his second game with 10 or more assists this season — and sophomore Dom Uhl grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
The Hawkeyes shot a 45.7 field goal percentage for the game and made 11-of-30 3-point attempts. Iowa out-rebounded Tennessee Tech, 41-37, including 12 offensive rebounds, which led to a 19-6 advantage in second-chance points, and it assisted on 19 of 32 field goals.
Iowa limited the Golden Eagles to 32 percent shooting in the first half and a 38.6 field goal percentage for the game. The Hawkeyes forced 18 turnovers, which they turned into 17 points.
“Our defense was spectacular in the first half,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery.
The Hawkeyes rebounded from a slow start to close out the first half on a flurry. After playing to a 12-all tie over the first eight minutes, Iowa rattled off 13 straight points, nine coming from Uthoff, to open up a 25-12 lead with 6:42 left in the half.
“In the beginning of the game, (Tennessee Tech) was disguising defenses,” said McCaffery. “You need a point guard that is constantly on the attack. (Gesell’s) head was up and he was throwing it.”
After missing its first nine 3-point attempts, Iowa ended the half on fire, making five consecutive field goals over a two-minute stretch, turning a 29-18 advantage into a 43-20 lead. Jok opened and closed a 14-2 run with 3-pointers, and he had three 3-pointers during the stretch, essentially putting the game away.
“It’s funny because in the first half, I thought Peter was a little sloppy early,” said McCaffery. “I jumped him, yanked him, and put him right back in and he took the game over.
“That’s the Peter Jok we need to see. When his game is tight like that, he affects the game at both ends. He was terrific.”
The Hawkeyes stretched their lead to 27 points (51-24) 2 1/2 minutes into the second half on Jok’s career-best fifth 3-pointer and the lead swelled to a game-high 28 (67-39) points on a Baer 3-ball with 13:23 remaining.
Iowa returns to action Dec. 29, hosting the top-ranked Spartans at 8 p.m. (CT).