If we were limited to one word in our recaps, here would be ours for tonight: DAAAAAAAAAAMN.
Iowa dominated Marquette for 40 minutes on the Golden Eagles' home court, jumping out to a 28-8 lead and never so much as letting them back within single digits en route to an 89-61 victory.
Coming into the game, Vegas had the point spread at 3.5 (and that's with a late surge in Iowa's direction), and KenPom figured it'd be a 73-72 Iowa win. Instead, Iowa merely tied the largest road victory of the Fran McCaffery era (74-46 at Nebraska last year).
Peter Jok led all scorers with 20 points, with 11 coming before Marquette could even get into double figures, and Jarrod Uthoff added 15 in another typically brilliant performance. The backcourt duo of Anthony Clemmons and Mike Gesell was impressive as well, combining for 11 assists and seven (!) steals as each player scored 11 points in the victory. Clemmons in particular was lethal in the open court, and Iowa has the offensive cohesion with both players on the floor that McCaffery has wanted ever since he experimented with starting them both in 2012-13.
Of course, it helped that Marquette was ice-cold from long range, making one of its first 16 attempts from behind the arc. Fun fact, though: the Golden Eagles finished 7-for-30 on threes, which at 23.3% is Not Great, Bob, but still better than the 20% they were shooting on the season coming into the game. Yes, Steve Wojciechowski had one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the nation try 30 of them. And here I thought you had to be smart to go to Duke and play for Coach K.
McCaffery put 13 players on the court tonight, and only Okey Ukah was in strictly for garbage time. 12th man Nicholas Baer was in before the under-12 timeout in the second half, and sure, Iowa was up by more than 20 at that point, but Iowa spent literally over two-thirds of the game (26:45) up by more than 20. Dom Uhl's the clear sixth man of the group, Dale Jones and Brady Ellingson continue to see solid minutes off the bench, and it's hard to see how McCaffery leaves Ahmad Wagner or Andrew Fleming out when it comes time to tighten up the rotation.
As for Marquette's stars, perhaps Henry Ellenson is bound for the NBA one day, as his hype suggests. If anything, Iowa should hope that's exactly the case, because the Hawkeye defense absolutely shut him down, to the tune of 1-8 (0-4) shooting for this many points! [holds up three fingers like a toddler] Nobody turned in a great offensive performance for Marquette, and if Iowa can keep disrupting opposing offenses like this in the Big Ten, it's time to adjust expectations just a little higher.
This was an absolutely fearless, cold-blooded performance by the Hawkeyes in what one would ordinarily call "their first road game." And sure, for the freshmen it was. But this team starts four seniors, four guys who have been in plenty of Big Ten arenas and who, y'know, went to Chapel Hill and stuck it to North Carolina just last year. They weren't going to be intimidated or surprised by Marquette's home court.
The rest of the Big Ten should be on notice: Iowa's not going to roll over just because Aaron White graduated. This team is experienced, athletic, deep and more than willing to run you off your own damn floor.