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By JAMES ALLAN
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team lost for the second time in as many days, falling 80-72 to South Dakota State on Tuesday afternoon at the Cayman Islands Basketball Classic.
Iowa shot 50.9 percent from the floor, making 28-of-55 field goals, including eight 3-pointers. The Hawkeyes made just 8-of-15 free throws and committed 15 turnovers.
South Dakota State shot 44.3 percent, but the team used the 3-ball and capitalized from the free throw line to hand Iowa its second loss of the season. The Jackrabbits made 10 3-pointers and 16-of-19 free throws in the game.
“We’re spotty right now, great in some segments, not so great in some segments,” said junior Ahmad Wagner. “That’s something we have to fix — our consistency — if we’re going to be a great team, which we can be.”
Sophomore Isaiah Moss led the Hawkeyes with 18 points, making 8-of-16 field goals and two 3-pointers. Freshman Jack Nunge finished with 14 points off the bench, while Wager and sophomore Tyler Cook added 11 points apiece.
Jackrabbit freshman David Jenkins, Jr., led all scorers with 23 points in 23 minutes.
QUOTING COACH MCCAFFERY
“We have to be better, get better, and even though we have a young team, we have to play like a veteran team in close games late. We didn’t do that yesterday or today. We made runs, were right there and could have won either game, but we didn’t win either game. You have to understand what you have to do in those situations better. That’s execute; good teams execute their stuff.”
SECOND HALF FLURRY
After trailing 36-33 at the half, Iowa tied the game on a Moss 3-pointer 25 seconds into the second half. It was the beginning of a 10-minute flurry where there were five ties and five lead changes.
The Jackrabbits took the lead for good at the 11:57 mark on a Jenkins, Jr., jumper and they opened up a 63-55 lead on an Ian Theisen 3-pointer with 8:31 to play. Iowa responded with a 7-0 spurt and a Wagner 3-pointer closed the gap to 63-62 with 5:48 left, but South Dakota State responded with a 16-7 run to put the game away.
“We have been talking about our defense and how we haven’t been as connected as we need to be,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “That’s true, but we weren’t connected offensively. We moved the ball, kind of executed, and didn’t execute other times. When you’re behind, you have to execute every time you get the ball and be connected every time they get the ball.”
WAGNER GIVES A LIFT
Junior Ahmad Wagner scored a season-high 11 points, making 5-of-6 field goals, including a key 3-pointer during Iowa’s second-half spurt. Wagner also grabbed three rebounds and had one assist and steal in 16 minutes.
- Freshman Luka Garza had 10 rebounds — his second double-digit game of the season — against the Jackrabbits.
- Sophomore Jordan Bohannon handed out seven assists and committed just one turnover in the game.
- The Jackrabbits capitalized off Iowa’s 15 turnovers, scoring 25 points.
- South Dakota State’s reserves bettered its Iowa counterparts, 34-21.
The Hawkeyes close out play in the Cayman Islands, facing the loser of the UAB/Buffalo for seventh place, beginning at 11 a.m. (CT).