IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa men’s basketball team eclipsed the century mark for the second straight game, defeating Northern Illinois, 103-74, on Friday night on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the nonconference finale.
Iowa resumes Big Ten Conference play with an 8-5 overall record.
After taking a 54-48 lead into the break, the Hawkeyes dominated the second half en route to their eighth win of the season, outscoring the Huskies, 49-26, in the second 20 minutes of action. The Iowa defense held the Huskies to 9-of-31 (29%) shooting in the second half. Iowa forced nine second half turnovers, while committing just three themselves.
Graduate Ben Krikke came out hot, scoring eight of the Hawkeyes first 10 points. He finished as Iowa’s leading scorer with 20 points while also grabbing seven rebounds. Freshman Owen Freeman narrowly missed his second career double-double, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Hawkeyes forced the Huskies into 12 first-half turnovers, while committing just four. Iowa shot 24-of-46 from the field in the first half and controlled the glass grabbing eight offensive rebounds and allowing none. At the end of the first half, Iowa led Northern Illinois, 54-48.
The Sandfort brothers combined to score 28 points. Junior Payton Sandfort finished as the second leading scorer with 16 points and knocked down two from deep to go along with seven rebounds. Freshman Pryce Sandfort finished with a career-high 12 points, shooting 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
You're a badddd man, @prycesandfort
— Iowa Men’s Basketball (@IowaHoops) December 30, 2023
Sophomore Dasonte Bowen poured in 15 points, converting on 4-of-5 free throws, while senior Tony Perkins added 10 points while tying a career-high with eight assists to go along with three steals.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“[Northern Illinois] shot 67% and made eight threes [in the first half]. It’s not the first time they’ve had performances like this. I mean they went on a 27-2 run at Monmouth. They were beating Northwestern at halftime. Up 20 against DePaul on the road. They ended up winning that game. So, they do this all the time, very explosive offensive team. We did not get up into their space like we had hoped or prepared for. Whether it’s a ball screen or not, you’ve got to be up in their space. In the second half we took care of business in that area. We got up in their space and we created some misses. They shot 29% in the second half. Then you can get your running game going.
“Yeah, that’s that that’s how we play. I mean I’m not surprised. We need to be there every night. I thought we would have more [assists] on 42 baskets. The bottom line is we share it. We had six guys in double figures and one guy with nine and one guy with eight. So, it could have been eight guys [in double figures]. That’s what makes us hard to guard.”
“We got a lot of different ways we can go. For example, yeah, we were struggling a little bit offensively and then Pryce comes in and hits two threes. It’s always somebody else. Dasonte Bowen was terrific. He had 15 points. Josh Dix in the second half was great. So, when we go to the bench, we’re not losing a lot. A little bit of experience maybe, but those guys come in and they compete, and they score, and they defend. Josh and and Dasonte are really good defenders.”
- Iowa put up 54 points in the first half – its sixth 50-point half this season.
- The Hawkeyes eclipsed the century mark for the second straight game and for the fourth time on the year. Iowa has scored 100+ points 13 times since the start of the 2021-22 season.
- The Hawkeyes had six players reach double figures for the second time this season. Iowa has had at least four players in double digits in 10 games.
- After giving up 48 points in the first half on 66.7 percent shooting, Iowa limited NIU to 26 second-half points on 29 percent shooting.
- Graduate Ben Krikke scored 20 points, making 9-of-12 field goals. The forward also had seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
- It is Krikke’s team-best fifth 20-point game this season and the 29th such game of his career.
- Krikke has scored in double figures in 11 of 13 games this season.
- Senior Tony Perkins had 10 points and tied a career high with eight assists.
- Perkins has 22 assists to three turnovers over his last three games.
- Junior Payton Sandfort scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including going 2-for-5 from 3-point range. Sandfort also had seven rebounds and three assists.
- Sandfort has made two or more 3-point field goals in eight consecutive games.
- Freshman Owen Freeman narrowly missed his second career double-double, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes. The forward also had four steals and three blocks in the game.
- Sophomore Dasonte Bowen finished with 15 points (two off his career high) on 5-of-8 shooting. It was his fourth game in double figures this season.
- Freshman Pryce Sandfort reached double figures for the first time in his career, finishing with a career-high 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting.
- Sandfort made three 3-pointers — his first career game with multiple 3-point field goals.
- Iowa finished the game with 23 assists on 42 field goals. The Hawkeyes are 6-1 when handing out 20 or more assists.
- Iowa finished with a season-high 15 steals and a season-high nine blocks.
- The team had a season-high 38 fast break points in the victory.
- The Hawkeyes made eight 3-pointers, moving their record to 5-1 when making at least eight 3s.
- Iowa shot at least 50 percent from the field for the seventh time this season (6-1 record).
- The team scored 56 points in the paint. Iowa has scored 122 points in the paint in its last two games.
- The win is head coach Fran McCaffery’s 269th career victory, three wins from becoming the winningest coach in Iowa history.
- Iowa has won 89 of its last 95 nonconference home games dating back to 2012.
- The Hawkeyes improve to 6-1 this season inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa returns to action Jan. 2, traveling to Madison to face No. 23 Wisconsin at 6 p.m. (CT) at the Kohl Center. The game will be televised on BTN.