By DARREN MILLER
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands — Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook combined for 59 points and shot 74 percent from the field, sparking the University of Iowa to a 95-85 victory over Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) on Wednesday in the Cayman Islands Basketball Classic.
The Hawkeyes improve to 4-2 on the season after going 1-2 in the Cayman Islands. UAB is 3-3.
Iowa led by 12 points at halftime (49-37) and led by as many as 15 early in the second half (58-43). UAB forged ahead by nine points in the first half before the Hawkeyes closed the final 6:35 of the first half on a 27-6 run.
“We came with energy the entire game, we didn’t relax,” Iowa freshman Luka Garza said. “We took all their hits and came right back at them. We did a great job of responding to adversity.”
Garza scored 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the field and pulled down seven rebounds. He was one of four Hawkeyes to score in double figures, led by Bohannon with 30 and Cook with 29. Isaiah Moss, who was named to the all-tournament team, added 12 points.
“I was thrilled with our improvement,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “I felt we were better in day two and better in day three than we were in day one. When you play three games in three days, you want to grow up a little bit and I think we did that.”
The Hawkeyes scored 14 fast break points compared to zero by UAB.
Iowa shot 60 percent from the field (30 of 50), including 8 of 13 from 3-point range. Bohannon was 6 of 8 from distance.
“I thought (Bohannon) was tremendous in all aspects,” McCaffery said. “He ran the offense well. Any time a guy makes six 3s, that’s what you focus on. But we wanted to go inside and Luka and Tyler had big games and it all starts with your point guard.”
UAB tied the game, 60-60, with 13:06 to play. Cook scored six straight points for the Hawkeyes and Bohannon added the next five Hawkeye points to put them back up by six with 9:12 remaining.
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
Iowa scored 27 points on 35 attempts from the free throw line. Bohannon (6 of 6) and Maishe Dailey (4 of 4) were perfect from the line; Cook was 13 of 16.
“I wanted to be aggressive today and take it right at them.” Cook said.
Moss, a sophomore, was named to the all-tournament team. In three games, he averaged 18 points and 2.7 assists. Moss shot 43 percent from the field and 92 percent from the line.
Iowa travels to Virginia Tech (4-1) on Nov. 28 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. (CT) from Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Virginia.