Just like Davidson did on Friday, Iowa went up against a more complete team and stood no chance. Gonzaga was ridiculously hot from the field to begin the game and Iowa was able to keep up for the first 8 minutes or so, but it all started to go downhill from there. Iowa's offense continued to dial up a multitude of mid-range jumpers, but they weren't falling at the same clip that they did against Davidson. Meanwhile, the Zags' hot shooting carried on throughout the remainder of the first half and Iowa found themselves in a 17-point hole at halftime.
There was a brief period of hope for an Iowa comeback right after the Hawks came out of the locker room. Iowa's zone defense started to slow Gonzaga's offense and create turnovers, and the offense started to get the ball to the rim more often. The only problem was that Iowa could never get the lead down to anything more manageable than 11. Every time the Hawkeyes would start to make a run, Gonzaga held them off with a well-timed three and Iowa's offense would answer back by clanking a jump shot. It just wasn't their night.
Ultimately, Gonzaga had the more complete team, and it showed. It's a shame the season had to end with a 19-point loss, but that's how things go sometimes.
Four Factors in Review
First Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 0.88, Gonzaga 1.39
First Half Possessions: 33
Second Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.14, Gonzaga 1.20
Second Half Possessions: 34
Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.01, Gonzaga 1.30
Let's start with Gonzaga. Their offense looked great and they couldn't miss all night. That was compounded by the fact that Iowa's big men struggled to defend the pick-and-roll and couldn't play defense in the low post without fouling. Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis finished a combined 10-16 from the field, where they abused Iowa's bigs on the block on multiple occasions. Additionally, Kyle Wiltjer, Kevin Pangos, and Gary Bell Jr. combined to also go 10-16 from downtown. Here are Gonzaga's stats:
|Gonzaga||2pt Near Rim||2pt Jumper||3Pt FG|
If Iowa could have found a way to stop their inside game, they may have had a puncher's chance. But when the other team makes 61% of their twos and almost 63% of their threes, you may as well call it a night.
As for Iowa's offense, it was just about as bad as their defense at times, and also lacked any type of inside game for most of the night. They did better getting the ball to the rim after halftime, but it wasn't because they were feeding their low post guys, it was because guys like Mike Gesell were attacking the basket and Aaron White was getting out in transition after a steal. The big issue with the offense all night, though, was the reliance on jump shots.
|Iowa||2pt Near Rim||2pt Jumper||3Pt FG|
As you can see, when Iowa did get the ball to the rim, they were very successful in converting those attempts into points. The problem was they didn't get the ball down there a whole lot. Gonzaga's defense was physical and that seemed to bother Iowa to the point where it seemed like all they could do was run the same play to get Jarrod Uthoff an open look at a mid-range jumper from the free throw line. Uthoff is a good shooter from anywhere on the court, but when over half of his 19 field goal attempts on the night are of the inefficient long two variety, Iowa's offense is probably in trouble.
Both teams finished the game with 11 turnovers. Of course, Iowa's first half turnovers were more costly because Gonzaga was able to score 17 points off the Hawkeyes' 7 first half turnovers. Takeaways almost helped Iowa launch an attempt at a comeback in the second half, but it ultimately failed because Iowa was only able to put up 9 points after Gonzaga committed their 7 turnovers.
So this category was technically a draw, but you could easily give it to Gonzaga.
Iowa had one of their worst showings of the season on both sides of the glass vs. Gonzaga. Against Davidson, Iowa was able to use second chance points off of offensive rebounds to help mask some early shooting struggles, but that was not at all the case against the Zags. Overall, the Hawkeyes collected just 39% of all rebounds available in this game. That is their second worst total of the season, and it is sandwiched in between the two embarrassing displays they had against Wisconsin on the boards earlier this year. Outside of Jarrod Uthoff, nobody on Iowa was real active in the rebounding game. This was just another demonstration of how Gonzaga's big men outplayed Iowa's.
Yeah, this category didn't go Iowa's way, either. The Hawkeyes couldn't seem to get the whistles to blow when they needed them, and Gonzaga frequently seemed to get them whether they were warranted or not. But that's not at all why Iowa lost this game. They knew coming into this that Gonzaga doesn't put their opponent on the free throw line often, so they they knew they needed to play good defense and control the boards. They didn't, and they lost because of it. It's as simple as that.
Overall: Iowa won 0 of 4 Factors
I'll just briefly mention how many talented players this Gonzaga team has. Wiltjer, Pangos, Karnowski, and Bell Jr. are as good a starting four as I've seen anyone put out against Iowa all year. And to be able to bring Sabonis off the bench is just not fair. I can't believe he's not even 20 years old yet. He's definitely a future NBA player.
Anyway, Iowa's man of the match was Jarrod Uthoff. He scored 20 points by making 10 of his 19 field goal attempts. He also grabbed 8 rebounds (1 offensive) and blocked one shot. My only complaint was that 10 of his attempts were long twos. He shot 40% on them, but that is still not the most efficient use of his scoring opportunities. He missed all 3 of his three-point attempts, and I can't help but think how much more efficient he would have been had some of those long twos been threes instead. That being said, we saw a couple more glimpses of the aggressive, attacking Jarrod Uthoff that I hope to see next year. He had two dunks on the night and actually scored 12 of his 20 points in the paint. If he can continue to do that, and work on turning those jumpers into three-point attempts, he could be extremely special as a senior.
Aaron White bounced back from a quiet first half to finish his final game as a Hawkeye with 19 points. He did so on 7-13 shooting from the floor and 3-3 shooting from the line. He also continued to demonstrate his marked improvement when it comes to three-point shooting, making 2 of his 3 three-point attempts against the Zags. White was held in check in the rebounding department, however, and really only contributed outside of scoring by forcing 3 steals in the second half. He did log two more dunks, though, finishing his career with an impressive 22-game streak and 201 career dunks.
|Aaron White Dunk-O-Meter||Freshman||Sophomore||Junior||Senior||Career|
|Field Goals Made||136||140||143||171||590|
Outside of Iowa's star players, Anthony Clemmons had a pretty good game in his limited time off the bench. He finished with 10 points on 3-4 shooting from downtown and throwing in another point from the free throw line. Overall, though, Iowa didn't get nearly enough out of their guards in this one. But I'm not putting this loss on the guards because the Hawkeyes didn't get anything from their two big men either.
Really, this loss was as much of a team effort as the win against Davidson was. They struggled mightily in the first half and it cost them against a very complete Gonzaga team. It's disappointing, but it's nothing to be upset about. It was a great season and it had to come to an end sometime. We didn't want that time to be now, but it is what it is. We will spend the next couple of weeks looking back on the season, but until then let's be happy Iowa basketball is relevant again. Oh yeah, and let's root for a Gonzaga massacre of UCLA.