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By JAMES ALLAN
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech outscored the University of Iowa men’s basketball team 41-17 in the second half to run away with a 79-55 Big Ten/ACC Challenge victory Tuesday night at Cassell Coliseum.
The Hawkeyes shot 51.7 percent in the first half, but the game was tied at 38. Sophomore Tyler Cook’s floater one minute into the second half tied the game at 40, but that was Iowa’s only field goal in more than a eight-minute stretch.
Virginia Tech countered with an 18-1 spurt to build a 60-41 lead and it led by as many as 27.
“In the first half our attention to detail was good at both ends,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “We were getting done what we wanted to get done for the most part. In the second half that didn’t happen.
“If that happens against this team, they’re going to capitalize in transition off your misses and mistakes.”
The Hawkeyes shot just 18.9 percent over the final 20 minutes, making 7-of-37 field goals, including 1-of-12 3-pointers. Iowa shot 33.3 percent from the floor and went 5-of-20 from 3-point range.
The Hokies had a 43.1 field goal percentage and made 22-of-28 free throws. Iowa was 6-of-10 from the free throw stripe.
“Everything that was in the game plan was executed in the first half,” said sophomore Cordell Pemsl, who had a career-high 14 rebounds to go along with six points and six assists. “We needed to come out with that same mentality in the second half as we did in the first.
“When we go down, we can’t let them keep punching and they did that.”
Cook paced the Hawkeyes with 16 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore Jordan Bohannon scored 12 points — all coming in the first half.
The Hokies’ Ahmed Hill led all scorers with 18 points.
QUOTING COACH MCCAFFERY
“We couldn’t make anything (in the second half). It affected our defense, which is disappointing. When you’re struggling on offense, you need to ratchet up your defense and get stops. We didn’t do that. You have to give credit to them.”
Junior Nicholas Baer scored five points and grabbed four rebounds in 22 minutes in his regular-season debut. The forward, who missed the Hawkeyes’ first six games with a hand injury, went 2-of-9 from the field and 1-of-5 from 3-point range.
“His shot wasn’t there, but his energy level was there,” said McCaffery. “It’s good to have him back; it gives us another ball handler in the backcourt.”
BOHANNON HEATS UP, COOLS OFF
Bohannon was firing (and hitting) from all over the floor in the first half, making all four of his 3-point field goal attempts and finishing 4-of-6 from the field. Virginia Tech amped up its defense, holding the Hawkeye sharp shooter scoreless in the second half, as he missed all six of his field goal attempts.
- Virginia Tech had a 12-0 advantage in fast-break points, and the Hokies scored 12 points on 14 Iowa turnovers.
- The Hawkeyes won the rebounding battle, 44-40, including grabbing 15 offensive rebounds.
Iowa returns to action Saturday, hosting Penn State in its Big Ten opener at 4 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.