By JAMES ALLAN
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Five Hawkeyes scored in double figures to lead the University of Iowa men’s basketball team to an 80-73 neutral site victory over Colorado on Friday night in front of a sold-out, pro-Hawkeye crowd at the Sanford Pentagon.
Iowa has won four straight games, improving to 8-6 overall heading into its Dec. 29 nonconference finale against Northern Illinois. Colorado is 8-4.
The Hawkeyes used an 11-2 spurt midway through the second half to take control. Sophomore Maishe Dailey was in the middle of the action, scoring on a left-handed floater to cut the Colorado lead to one before hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Hawkeyes a 53-51 lead.
With the score tied at 53, Iowa went on an 8-0 spurt to take a 61-53 lead before pushing its lead to 65-55 with 6:24 to play. The Buffs cut the lead to four in a blink of an eye, but Iowa finished to win its eighth game of the season.
“We needed that,” said sophomore Cordell Pemsl. “We didn’t play our best game, but we were able to stay composed, come together, and have chemistry on the court. We got the bench and crowd involved and executed down the stretch and got the win.”
The Hawkeyes got off to a strong start in the first half, leading by double digits four times in the opening 20 minutes, but turnovers were the issue. Iowa committed 10 turnovers and went 7:41 without a field goal before Dailey hit a 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining, giving the Hawkeyes a 32-31 halftime lead.
Dailey and sophomore Isaiah Moss led Iowa with 16 points apiece, Jordan Bohannon had 14 points and six boards, Tyler Cook had 12 points, and Cordell Pemsl had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
The Hawkeyes 49.1 percent from the field, but went just 3-of-15 from 3-point range. Iowa was +12 on the glass (43-31) and went 25-of-36 from the free throw stripe. Colorado was 9-of-17.
Colorado, which shot 42.6 percent, had four players in double figures with McKinley Wright leading the way with 21 points and six assists.
HAWKEYES GROW UP
“Whenever you have a lead, give it up, get it back, give it up again, you have to fight through it,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “It wasn’t an easy game. This is a good team. We were making mistakes, we had to overcome and correct them as the game was going on and execute. We had some guys individually who weren’t playing well early but were playing well late. That was good to see.”
A NEUTRAL SITE HOME GAME
Officially, it was a neutral site game at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, but it was essentially a Hawkeye home game. The 3,250 sold-out crowd scooped up tickets in 13 minutes; it was 95 percent Iowa and it was noticeable.
“It felt like it was louder than a home game,” said Dailey. “When we first came out for warm-ups, I couldn’t find a Colorado fan. It was like a sixth man on the floor; they helped us out.”
“This is a phenomenal building,” said McCaffery. “It was as good as atmosphere as you’re going to find. It was a professionally run event. I loved the event, venue, and our kids loved it.”
WHAT A DAILEY
Dailey had a career night, doing a little bit of everything. The Ohio native played 27 big minutes, where he made 5-of-7 field goal attempts en route to a career-high 16 points. Dailey scored eight straight Iowa points during the key stretch when the Hawkeyes took control. He also had five rebounds and one assist without committing a turnover.
“He was fantastic,” said McCaffery. “He was playing mistake free basketball with great energy, versatility, and decision-making. He was scoring, driving, moving it, and making the right decision every time.”
The Hawkeyes committed 10 first-half turnovers and weren’t much better in the second half. Iowa finished with 19 turnovers, which led to 23 Colorado points, but only a handful came during the homestretch.
“The last 12 minutes we only had two turnovers,” said McCaffery. “That was key.”
Iowa made up for the mistakes by dominating on the glass, 43-31, including 12 offensive boards.
“We got a lot of key rebounds when we needed them,” said McCaffery. “It was important we have a rebounding advantage. Especially when you look at stats, we have 19 turnovers, usually you don’t win. If you have a rebounding advantage, get to FT line, get to double bonus, then you can overcome (the turnovers).
Iowa closes out 2017 and its nonconference slate, hosting Northern Illinois on Dec. 29 on Mediacom Court beginning at 7 p.m. (CT).