Darren Miller (Hawkeye Sports)
Let's be clear about one thing: don't read much into this game. South Carolina State is a bad basketball team. Like really, really, really bad. They shot 25% in this game. TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT! There's a reason they rank 341st out of the 347 teams in the KenPom rankings: they stink. So the fact that Iowa was able to demolish them doesn't tell us a great deal about the true strength of this Iowa team. Still: it feels really good to see an Iowa basketball team that can just dominate an overmatched team like this South Carolina State team. That certainly hasn't always been the case in recent years.
Iowa dominated the game -- and they didn't even play that well, overall. Iowa started sluggishly and actually trailed 7-6 at the first media timeout on 2/9 shooting. The scores at the next three media timeouts? 18-11 Iowa, 30-15 Iowa, and 41-18 Iowa, leading to a 47-20 Iowa lead at halftime. They got things rolling. Or more precisely -- Roy Devyn Marble got things rolling. He finished the half with 21 points on 6/11 shooting and 4/6 from 3-point range. He added two more 3s early in the second half, which pushed Iowa's lead to 54-22. He sat for the rest of the game shortly after that and finished with 27 points; he could have easily had 40+ tonight. Iowa carried that momentum over into the second half, using a 21-4 run in the first 6:30 of the half to open up an absurd 44-point lead. South Carolina State actually played Iowa even (22-22) over the rest of the game, so BOO IOWA FIX THAT, YOU BUMS.
Despite their ugly shooting at the start of the game, Iowa ended up shooting well overall: 31/63 (49.2%) overall and 11/23 (47.8%) from long range. About the only place they didn't shoot terribly well was the free throw line, where they were just 17/27 (63%). Marble was the only Hawkeye to hit double figures, but 11 Iowa players scored in total. In fact, every Hawkeye who attempted a shot scored, except Darius Stokes. Hell, Kyle Denning and Chris Rickert each had a pair of baskets in this game.
Iowa was only even with South Carolina State in offensive rebounds (15 to 14), but they had a massive advantage in total rebounds (56-36), led by Gabe Olaseni with 10, Adam Woodbury with 9, and Aaron White with 7. Iowa also had 22 assists (on 31 field goals), led by Mike Gesell with 8 and Anthony Clemmons with 6. Olaseni did a nice job of stuffing the stat sheet in general: in addition to those 10 rebounds, he had 6 points, 4 blocks, and 2 steals. The game was barely a competitive affair in the second half, but Olaseni decided to throw a block party in the paint in that half.
With the win, Iowa improves to 10-2 on the season and extends their winning streak to five games. They haven't won more than five games in a row since 2004, which is also the last time they started the season this well (12-1 that year). The win also improved McCaffery's career record at Iowa to .500 (39-39) and gave him more career wins at Iowa than Todd Lickliter had at Iowa -- in 19 fewer games (and with at least 20 more games to go this season). It's always nice to win and it's nice to dominate inferior opposition -- especially when you're not at your best -- but this win just doesn't tell us that much about this Iowa team. Up next? Coppin State, who checks in at #291 on the KenPom rankings. We probably won't learn that much about this Iowa team in that game, either.