IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa men’s basketball team defeated Rutgers, 86-77, on Saturday afternoon on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena as to notch its first win of the Big Ten regular season. Iowa now sits at 9-6 for the season and 1-3 in Big Ten Conference play.
Junior Payton Sandfort was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points. Sandfort made four 3s in the second half and finished the game shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 5-of-8 from deep while pulling in eight rebounds and dishing out three assists. Graduate Ben Krikke tallied his second double-double of the season, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Freshman Owen Freeman finished with 15 points. Freeman scored eight straight points midway through the second half allowing Iowa to jump out to a comfortable lead. Freeman shot 5-of-7 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Rounding out the Hawkeyes in double digits, Tony Perkins matched Freeman with 15 points. Perkins has scored 10+ points in 13-of-15 games.
Rutgers struggled to get going in the first half, missing 11 straight field goals, and starting the game 1-of-15 from the floor. Despite Iowa struggling from the field in the first half, the team was able to build a comfortable lead going into the half, leading the Scarlet Knights, 41-34 at the break.
Iowa was able to comfortably hold its lead throughout the entirety of the second half. The Hawkeyes finished the game shooting 29-of-63 (46%) from the field and 7-of-14 from deep.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“I think the most important thing was getting the team ready to play today. Be a really good team and getting our first Big Ten win this year. You know Rutgers is going to keep making runs back at you. You guys know me, I don’t think that much about wins. I find it interesting they talk about; I have this many wins. I didn’t play anybody. Iowa won those games.”
“Especially at the defensive end. I thought we were really good. This is a very athletic team. They drive the ball. We were clearly concerned with Cliff, he’s a handful. Not only on the screen and roll but offensive rebounding. He’s a threat to get it and dunk it pretty much every time the shot goes up. I thought we did a good job with him and I’m really proud of Owen.”
“[Payton] was really moving without the ball. They guard him closely, so he has to move without the ball, and we have to screen for him. We have to find him in transition and make sure we get him open shot opportunities. We post him up once in a while. You think of him as a jump shooter but he’s 6’7 so you can post him up as well.”
- Today’s victory is head coach Fran McCaffery’s 127th career Big Ten win – passing Dr. Tom Davis for the most in program history.
- McCaffery is now two wins from becoming the all-time winningest coach in the Iowa record books.
- Iowa led 19-5 over the first eight minutes, limiting Rutgers to 1-of-15 shooting to open game.
- The Hawkeyes led by as many as 16 (39-23) in the first half before the Scarlet Knights went on an 11-2 run over final 2:38 to trim deficit to 41-34 at the break.
- The Hawkeyes made 10 straight field goals spanning halves.
- Junior Payton Sandfort notched his third 20 point game of the season, finishing with a season-high 24 points and eight rebounds. The forward made 8-of-12 field goals, including a season-high five 3-pointers (one off his career high).
- Sandfort has made at least four 3-pointers in four games this season (11 times in his career). He has made at least three 3-point field goals in eight games and two or more in 10 straight games.
- Sandfort has scored in double digits in 12 games.
- Graduate Ben Krikke tallied his second double-double, finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He went 6-of-15 from the floor.
- The double-double is the fifth of his career.
- It is Krikke’s 13th game in double figures this season.
- Freshman Owen Freeman finished with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting with four rebounds and two blocks. He went 5-of-6 from the free throw stripe.
- The forward has reached double figures eight times this season, including four games since joining the starting lineup.
- Senior Tony Perkins finished with 15 points and 4 steals, tying a season high.
- He has been in double figures in 13 of 15 games this season.
- Sophomore Josh Dix made his second career start (first career Big Ten start).
- Senior Patrick McCaffery missed the game because of illness.
The Hawkeyes return to action Friday, hosting Nebraska at 8:30 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.