By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The 21st-ranked University of Iowa men’s basketball team overpowered Western Carolina on Tuesday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes notched their third straight victory, downing the Catamounts, 78-60. Iowa improves to 9-2 overall.
Iowa had three players finish in double figures with junior Tyler Cook leading the way with 18 points. Sophomore Luka Garza had 15 and freshman Joe Wieskamp added 10. Junior Isaiah Moss and redshirt freshman Connor McCaffery finished with nine points apiece.
The Hawkeyes shot 46.9 percent from the field and went just 5-of-18 from 3-point range, but Iowa dominated at the free throw line. The Hawkeyes made 27-of-37 free throw attempts compared to 11 for Western Carolina.
Western Carolina finished with a 48.8 field goal percentage, but it had more turnovers than field goals. The Hawkeyes forced the Catamounts into 26 turnovers — a season-high by an Iowa opponent. Iowa capitalized, scoring 27 points off the miscues.
“Our defensive pressure forcing those turnovers was the big difference,” said junior Ryan Kriener.
The Catamounts shot 66.7 percent in the first half, but trailed 48-29. When Western Carolina wasn’t making shots, it was turning it over. The Hawkeyes forced 15 turnovers in the first half alone and the Catamounts took just 17 shots.
“We knew if we got up into them defensively, we could force a lot of turnovers,” said Weiskamp. “However, they shot a high percentage when they got shots up. We have to do a better job of deterring their shots, too.”
After scoring the game’s first seven points, Iowa trailed 10-9 at the 15:39 mark before surging to a 26-15 capped with a one-handed Kriener flush. After a Hawkeye turnover led to an easy Catamount layup, cutting the margin to 29-20, Iowa followed with an 8-0 run to make the score 37-20.
A five-point spurt from Wieskamp, courtesy of a 3-pointer and two free throws, extended Iowa’s lead to 20 with 3:29 left in the opening half.
Iowa pushed its lead to 27 points midway through the second half. The Hawkeyes’ lead never got below 16 points.
Four Catamounts reached double figures with Marc Gosselin leading the way with 17 points.
UNTIL NEXT YEAR
Junior Cordell Pemsl’s season came to an end Tuesday when he underwent season-ending knee surgery. Pemsl played in two games (30 total minutes), averaging four points and four rebounds.
- Iowa moves to 9-0 in nonconference play this season.
- The Hawkeye reserves out-scored their Western Carolina counterparts, 22-2.
- Iowa blocked eight shots in the game, including four from senior Nicholas Baer.
ON THE HORIZON
The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday, hosting Savannah State at noon (CT) on Mediacom Court. Tickets are available at hawkeyesports.com/tickets.