A ranked team walks into Carver-Hawkeye and gets walloped by Iowa? You know damn well what this calls for:
Iowa jumped out to a 22-3 lead and never let the Terps within single digits thereafter, coasting to a 71-55 victory in front of a raucous sellout crowd at Carver-Hawkeye. The win pushes Iowa to 15-8 (6-4) on the season and gets the Hawkeyes safely away from the tourney bubble until further notice.
Iowa led by as much as 25 points in the second half, sitting at 42-17 early after the break. Maryland's ball control was wholly miserable in the first half, at one point turning the ball over eight times in its first 14 possessions. The Terps' shooting was awful early too (two 1-for-10 stretches in the first half), which is a pretty good way to find yourself down big in the first half.
Aaron White led the Hawkeyes with 17 points on the day to go along with eight rebounds, and Iowa enjoyed career highs from Adam Woodbury (16 points) and Peter Jok (15 points) as well. Woodbury was an absolute dynamo once again, finishing 6-for-7 from the field and 4-for-4 at the line. That pushes his field goal percentage back over .500 for the season and marks the sixth time in the last seven games Woody's been over .500 from the field.
Jok has also really grown into his role as shooting guard, and it's one the Hawkeyes really needed as it takes some pressure off Jarrod Uthoff on the offensive end. Granted, Jok won't be getting to 15 points on just eight shots from the field very often, but it's clearly well within his capabilities, even against a team with athletic defenders like Maryland.
Speaking of players who have taken steps up this year, we can't say enough about the difference in Mike Gesell's confidence and overall play from December to now. He's a critically important player in the Iowa offense and he's directing things in a much more effective way than he was during the non-conference slate. Today, Iowa got eight points and nine assists from Gesell, and his ability to navigate the Maryland press helped keep the lead at a safe distance throughout the proceedings.
Iowa is second in offensive efficiency in B1G play, believe it or not, and the Hawkeyes would be nowhere near that without Gesell elevating his play. I've said it before here, but while nobody would call Gesell the best or most important player on the team, he is the closest thing to a barometer as Iowa's got. If White or Uthoff struggle, it's rough, but Iowa can overcome that. If Gesell has a bad day, look out. Needless to say, we're glad that his bad days have become increasingly rare.
Then there was the Woodbury eye poke. Yeah. It happened again. I don't really know what to say about it. I don't think it looked intentional—the people who say it did are operating in ignorance of the face-guarding that happens in basketball all the damn time, but it's awfully hard to believe that he's not cognizant of where he's putting his hands and what he can or can't reach at any given time. The officials gave him a Flagrant-1 after review, and that was appropriate. Let's hope the Big Ten doesn't see fit to levy any further punishment, and let's hope this sort of thing never happens again.
But hey: that's one ugly spot on what was otherwise a pretty awesome win—maybe the best performance of the season, and probably the best show put on at Carver thus far. Breathe easy. Move your feet and feel united.