IOWA CITY, Iowa — Sophomore Keegan Murray scored 29 points on Wednesday night as the University of Iowa men’s basketball team closed out 2021, with a 92-71 victory over Western Illinois on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The nation’s leading scorer, Murray piled on 29 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Murray’s total marked the ninth time he has scored 20 points or more in 12 outings. He added three blocks, three steals, and three assists as Iowa rolled the Leathernecks for the 11th consecutive time. Murray carried 18 points into halftime as a layup from sixth-year senior Jordan Bohannon put the Hawkeyes up 53-33 at the break.
Western Illinois (10-4) cut the deficit to as low as 13 points in the second half, but Iowa pulled away with explosive scoring as 10 Hawkeyes found the bucket and four reached double figures.
Bohannon and freshman Payton Sandfort were Iowa’s second-leading scorers with 13 points apiece. Sandfort’s scoring came on 5-of-7 shooting, including a perfect 3-of-3 from behind the 3-point arc. Sandfort also hauled in five rebounds and snagged a steal on the evening.
Redshirt sophomore Patrick McCaffery put up 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and sinking both free throw attempts. McCaffery’s stat line also included three rebounds, two blocks, and an assist.
The Hawkeyes posted a 41-31 advantage on the glass, also topping Western Illinois in assists by a margin of 15-4. Iowa outscored the Leathernecks 54-42 in the paint, as well as 31-2 in transition. Iowa also swatted eight blocks and grabbed six steals while shooting 18-of-20 (.900) at the free throw line.
QUOTING COACH MCCAFFERY
“I felt we kind of warm downed. We were really cognizant of that. They were open a couple of times, and they missed a couple where we didn’t make the appropriate slide. They missed a couple, but we didn’t get them a ton of seconds and for the most part, we contested, and we ran. I think that was the key. The key is to make them guard both at the half and in transition. This was a good team I was really impressed with this team across the boards. They had multiple guys who could score and pound the glass and make threes.
“We are getting ready to play Maryland, a really good team. It is important that we played a good team to challenge us defensively and offensively. With their skilled players, and Maryland is a good team. They have multiple guys who can go off the dribble and male threes kind of like this team. We know we have a tough week with Maryland.”
- Keegan Murray has tallied 25+ points six times this season.
- Senior Jordan Bohannon scored his first field goal 51 seconds into the contest to surpass Greg Stokes for fifth all-time in Iowa scoring. Bohannon finished the game with 13 points.
- Freshman Payton Sandfort came off the bench and reached double figures for the second straight game and fourth time this season, netting 10 of his 13 points in the first half. Sandfort made half of Iowa’s 3-pointers.
- The Hawkeyes netted 53 first-half points, marking the fourth game this season that Iowa scored 50+ points in the first half.
- Iowa has won 77 of its last 82 nonconference home games, dating back to 2012.
Iowa resumes conference play on Monday, Jan. 3, hosting Maryland. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. Tickets are available for purchase at hawkeyesports.com/tickets.