By JAMES ALLAN
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — One of the University of Iowa men’s basketball team’s most complete team performances led to the Hawkeyes’ first true road victory of the season.
Iowa blitzed Rutgers from the opening tip in a lop-sided 83-63 win Tuesday night at the RAC. The Hawkeyes have won two straight games to improve to 13-10 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten play.
Playing in its second straight game without leading scorer Peter Jok, Iowa displayed balance and unselfishness in shooting 50 percent from the field. The Hawkeyes shared the ball — assisting on 24 of 30 field goals — four players reached double digits and 10 players scored.
“Rutgers is a team that has impressed me with their defensive intensity level, start to finish,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “When you face a team like that, you have to move the ball. If you try to score on one pass or two passes, it’s not going to work.
“We felt if we move it, move it, move it, and share it (we’d be successful)… the best stat as I see it is 24 assists on 30 baskets.”
Iowa made seven of its first nine 3-pointers and finished 11-for-18 for the game. The 61 percent 3-point field goal percentage was a season-best and the 11 3s were the most for the team since the Jan. 1 win over Michigan. Iowa had an 18-8 advantage in second-chance points and scored 20 points off 17 Rutgers turnovers.
Freshman Jordan Bohannon finished with 17 points on five 3-pointers, while freshman Cordell Pemsl scored 15 and had seven rebounds off the bench. Redshirt freshman Isaiah Moss and Tyler Cook added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 7-0 lead over the first three minutes before scoring 10 points in a span of 79 seconds to stretch the lead to 17-4. Iowa made seven of its first 13 field goals.
“We’ve been struggling on the road with our starts,” said McCaffery. “The truth is there has been a lot of focus on that, but we have just been inconsistent on the road. Today was most cohesive effort and consistent effort that we’ve had this year.”
The early onslaught continued when Bohannon made a 3-pointer, Ahmad Wagner converted a three-point play, and a Brady Ellingson 3-pointer pushed the lead to 26-6 at the 12:46 mark. Rutgers used three of its time outs in the first 12 minutes, but it didn’t matter.
Iowa led by as many as 25 points in the first half.
Iowa extended its 48-30 halftime lead to 23 early in the second half before Rutgers used a 7-0 spurt to close to 53-37. Cook followed with a dunk before Nicholas Baer and Bohannon hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make the score 61-39 with 14 minutes to play.
“We expected them to keep coming and they made a run at the end of the first half — we were up 24 and they got it to 18,” said McCaffery. “In the second half they made a little run, but we seemed to answer those runs, so I was really proud of that.”
The Hawkeyes led by as many as 28 points (76-48) with 7:27 remaining and a one-handed flush from Christian Williams in the final minute put an exclamation on Iowa’s 20-point Big Ten road triumph.
Iowa’s defense limited Rutgers to 39.1 percent shooting and the Hawkeyes finished with 15 steals in the game. One of the only check marks came on the glass, where Rutgers out-rebounded Iowa, 44-34, which included 19 offensive rebounds.
Rutgers’ Deshawn Freeman scored 17 points and had a game-high 13 rebounds, while Mike Williams had 16 points, nine rebounds, and four assists.
Iowa returns to action Sunday, hosting Nebraska at 1:06 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court. Tickets are available through the UI Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-IA-HAWKS or on hawkeyesports.com.