By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Six Hawkeyes reached double figures, leading the University of Iowa men’s basketball team to a season-opening 95-62 romp of visiting Chicago State on Friday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes made seven 3-pointers and shot 61.3 percent during a 52-point first half. Iowa shot 59.6 percent for the game and made 12 3-pointers — four apiece from sophomores Jordan Bohannon and Isaiah Moss.
Freshman Luka Garza paced the team with 16 points, going 6-for-6 from the field in his first official collegiate game. Moss finished with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while Bohannon and sophomore Tyler Cook had 12 points apiece. Sophomore Maishe Dailey and freshman Jack Nunge added 10 points apiece.
Bohannon had a team-high six assists, while Ahmad Wagner and Garza tied for the team lead with six rebounds.
The Hawkeyes led 23-14 eight minutes into the game, making 10 of their first 15 shots. Iowa pushed its lead to 33-19 on a Nunge three-point play and 20 (45-25) on a Bohannon 3-pointer off a Garza assist. Iowa went on a 14-6 run over the final six minutes of the first half to take a 52-27 lead into the break.
The highlight of the second half came five minutes in when Isaiah Moss’ steal lead to fireworks. He led the fast break before serving up an alley-oop to Cook for a thunderous slam, giving Iowa a 68-37 lead. The Hawkeyes led by as many as 40 (81-41) following a Brady Ellingson 3-pointer at the 9:36 mark.
NOT A BAD DEBUT
It wasn’t a bad debut for freshmen Luka Garza and Jack Nunge. The forward duo both reached double digits in their Hawkeye debuts. Garza finished with 16 points and five rebounds, while Nunge had 10 points and four rebounds. The pair made their first six field goals and went a combined 8-of-10 from the field.
“They’re both good and versatile,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “They have great court demeanor and don’t rattle. They make plays at both ends. Against a small quick team that was physical and physical, you have to have everybody that can make plays and those guys can make plays for other people and off the dribble.
“Those two guys were impressive.”
Sophomore Tyler Cook made all four of his field goal attempts to finish with 12 points and six rebounds against the Cougars. Cook has now made 22 consecutive field goals dating back to the second half of last season’s Big Ten Tournament game against Indiana.
“Tonight their game plan was to double every time he caught it,” said McCaffery. “As soon as we threw it in they came and doubled and Tyler didn’t panic at all. He would turn and face, found people, skipped it to weak side. You’re seeing the maturation of his game, and a couple of times he took it coast-to-coast and made the right decision on whether to go or not to go. I thought he and Luka were really going.”
Freshman Connor McCaffery didn’t suit up for the Hawkeyes after spraining his ankle in practice. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said Connor could be available Sunday, more likely next Thursday against Grambling State.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Hawkeyes assisted on 23 of their 31 field goals. Eleven of the assists came from Iowa’s frontcourt, including four from junior Ahmad Wagner and three from Cook.
“A lot of post guys put their head down and go, that’s what they’re used to doing because that’s what they did in high school,” said McCaffery. “Our guys share it from high-low, spin baseline, or they hit a cutter. They like to pass the ball, are good at it, have feel for it, and it makes us better.”
- The Hawkeyes had 17 second-chance points off the team’s 10 offensive rebounds.
- Iowa’s bench outscored its Chicago State counterparts, 39-22.
- Chicago State had a 14-5 advantage in fast-break points and both teams scored 30 points in the paint.
- The Hawkeyes shot 59.6 percent from the field for the game, but finished with just a 60 percent free throw percentage, making 21-of-35 attempts.
The Hawkeyes are back in action Sunday, hosting Alabama State at 3 p.m. (CT) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Get your tickets at hawkeyesports.com/tickets.