By RICK BROWN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Dynamic performances from Tyler Cook and Isaiah Moss, and major contributions off the bench from Nicholas Baer and Connor McCaffery highlighted the 18th-ranked University of Iowa men’s basketball team’s 98-84 Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series victory over Iowa State on Thursday on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Cook finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
“His energy level was tremendous,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “He’s so quick, strong, and powerful.”
Moss scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half. Baer added 14 points and seven rebounds and McCaffery 12 points and five assists as the Hawkeyes improved to 7-2.
The 98 points are the most Iowa has ever scored in a home game against Iowa State. The previous high came in a 91-71 victory in Iowa City in 1988.
“My first year here, I didn’t understand this rivalry,” Cook, from St. Louis, Missouri, said after his 11th career double-double. “I try to make myself and Iowan for those types of games. It was a lot of fun. I love these games.”
Iowa, beating the Cyclones for the second time in the last three games, took a 45-38 halftime lead as Cook and Moss dominated play. Moss had 18 first-half points, making 7-of-11 shots, including four 3-pointers in five tries. Cook had 15 points in the first 20 minutes.
“I got in a rhythm, and my teammates did a great job of finding me and getting me the ball,” Moss said.
Iowa kicked its 53-47 lead to double figures with a 10-0 run. Baer had a pair of 3-pointers and two assists in the run.
“He was spectacular,” Fran McCaffery said. “He’s a guy that helps your team in so many ways. Defensively, on the glass. He’s smart and he executes.”
Iowa took its largest lead of the game, 70-50, with 11:59 remaining. A key moment came when Baer rebounded Joe Wieskamp’s air ball from 3, dribbled it out front and passed it to McCaffery. He passed it right back to Baer, who drilled another 3.
“I looked up and saw there were seven or eight seconds left on the shot clock, and started clapping for the ball,” Baer said. “I figured it was the best shot we were going to get. I just launched it and it went in.”
Iowa State cut the deficit to eight points, at 86-78, with 6:05 to play, but McCaffery played a major factor in Iowa regaining momentum.
He scored all 12 of his points after that, including eight straight free throws, and added a block and two rebounds.
“He was tremendous,” Fran McCaffery said. “He knows where to put the ball, where to go, when not to go. Coming down the stretch he attacked.”
QUOTING NICHOLAS BAER
“In the back yard growing up, it was Iowa against Iowa State, 3-2-1… all that stuff. It’s a game I look forward to, one I always circle on my calendar. To be able to come out with a win my senior year, I couldn’t be more proud.”
Iowa announced before the Pittsburgh game Nov. 27 that junior forward Cordell Pemsl would have surgery and redshirt this season. But Pemsl started feeling better, practiced on Wednesday and played a surprising 15 1/2 minutes Thursday. He made the most of his time, finishing with eight points and six rebounds.
“On Tuesday I felt good, and decided to give it a go,” Pemsl said. “I felt good in practice.”
Pemsl could still redshirt if his leg doesn’t hold up and he plays 10 games or less.
“I’m day-to-day,” he said.
Playing a role in a rivalry victory wasn’t even on Pemsl’s radar a week ago.
“It’s satisfying to know I was able to contribute,” Pemsl said. “I couldn’t do it without everyone else.”
- Iowa dominated the Cyclones on the glass, finishing with a 44-24 advantage. The Hawkeyes had a 23-13 edge in second-chance points.
- Iowa’s bench played a huge factor in the victory, outscoring Iowa State by a 34-14 margin.
- The Hawkeyes shot 57.9 from the field, including nine 3-pointers in 18 attempts. Iowa also made 19-of-23 free throws (82.6 percent).
- This was the 14th time in the last 16 games the home team has won in the series.
ON THE HORIZON
After a break for semester exams, the Hawkeyes return to the floor Dec. 15 when they face Northern Iowa in the Hy-Vee Classic at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. (CT).