I was unable to watch most of this game last night, but I still wanted to show the charts and numbers. Feel free to point out your observations in the comments section.
Four Factors in Review
First Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.21, Rutgers 1.00
First Half Possessions: 37
Second Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.29, Rutgers 1.11
Second Half Possessions: 35
Total Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.25, Rutgers 1.06
Total Possessions: 72
|Iowa||2pt Near Rim||2pt Jumper||3Pt FG||FT|
|Rutgers||2pt Near Rim||2pt Jumper||3Pt FG||FT|
Iowa took almost half of their attempts from downtown, while coming close to attempting the other half near the rim. This is a welcomed sight, seeing how Iowa had been a bit jump shot heavy as of late. But it also shows how much the quality of a defense can effect a team's shot distribution. This was Iowa's third-highest performance in terms of shots attempted near the rim this year. Only games against Western Illinois (48.5%) and Coppin State (43.1%) saw Iowa take a larger percentage of their field goal tries from up close.
This was, however, Iowa's highest percentage of three-point tries on the season, beating out Tennessee Tech (42.9%) and Iowa State (41.5%). And I consider this a good thing, as I much prefer the opportunity for the extra point from long distance to a long two-pointer. But this also speaks to the quality of Rutgers' defense because what I did see of the game, there appeared to be a lot of open looks for Iowa from deep.
When Rutgers was on offense, their plan off attack was very focused on getting to the basket. Their 46 points in the paint ties Florida State for the most points near the basket of any team against Iowa this season. Part of that issue seemed to come on transition defense, as Rutgers had 17 fast break points on the night, 14 of which ended up in made layups. A few of them came off steals, but 6 of the Scarlet Knights' 8 fast break buckets came off of defensive rebounds, which makes me wonder what was going on there.
The issue with Iowa's transition defense appeared only in the second half, though, because Rutgers only scored 4 points on the break before halftime. Instead, the first half defensive issue looks from the box score to have stemmed from Woodbury being on the bench. Rutgers scored 24 of their 28 first half points near the rim after Adam Woodbury left the court with two fouls. They still scored 18 in the second half, but 10 of those came in transition, which is an area where you can't blame Woodbury's interior defense. Thus, it would appear from the box score (again, I didn't see all of the game) that Iowa struggled with their interior defense in the first half without Woody on the court, and then had issues getting back on defense after halftime. Let me know if I'm missing something here.
Fortunately, Rutgers couldn't find net on a good portion of their overall field goal tries near rim, and their three-point shooting was as bad as advertised. That made it so Iowa won the overall shooting category, despite letting Rutgers outshoot them ever-so-slightly in the second half. Iowa has not been outshot by their opponent over the course of an entire game since they played Notre Dame back in November. That's a great little streak they have, and hopefully one this team can keep going for a long while.
Iowa won the turnover battle in volume for both halves, but Rutgers did outscore Iowa 1.38 to 1.27 in possessions off of turnovers. But still, turning the ball over on just 11% of possessions trumps doing so on 15%.
Iowa's second half rebounding performance was much better than their first half one (thanks, Woody!), as 11 of Rutgers' 12 second chance points on the night came before the break. The second half was much better, as Iowa only allowed Rutgers to come away with 18% of their misses.
Overall, Iowa out-rebounded Rutgers and was able to capitalize on their misses at a higher rate. The Hawkeyes had 17 second chance points on 12 offensive rebounds (1.42 points per second chance), while Rutgers managed a respectable 12 points on 9 offensive rebounds (1.33 points per second chance). This category and turnovers helped Iowa manage five more scoring opportunities (free throw possessions included) for the game than Rutgers.
Free Throw Rate
Rutgers came into this game above average at keeping opponents off the line, but that didn't happen in this small sample size of one. Iowa finished with 21 free throw attempts on the night, and they drained 17 of them for a smooth 81%.
This appears as if it may be a trend now for this offense. After putting together a free throw rate of just 25.8% in the non-conference schedule, Iowa is at 36.6% against Big Ten teams. That's right on the Division I average, and a huge improvement from where they were earlier in the season. This is something that could potentially help them on a night where their shots may not be falling at a rate they are used to. So it's something to monitor as the season goes on.
On the other end, Iowa also continued to hold their opponents to a free throw rate that is way below the Division I average of 36.6%. They are first in the conference in this category, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
Overall: Iowa Won all 4 Factors
Peter Jok was the clear player of the game for Iowa. He ended his night with a career high 29 points on 10-19 shooting from the floor, 4-5 shooting from the free throw line, and he only turned the ball over once. He continued to be Iowa's biggest three-point threat on offense by pouring in 5 of his 9 attempts from long range against Rutgers. He is now shooting 40% on the year and 45% against Big Ten foes after being around 34% for his career before this season. Oh, and he's also averaging 17.7 points per game against Big Ten competition. No big deal.
On top of his increased shooting (and turnover) abilities, Jok continued to be an opportunistic defender on Thursday night. He had another three steals this game (Iowa had seven as a team), and he was able to turn two of them into breakaway dunks. He also had a third breakaway dunk off a Mike Gesell steal in which he earned a technical foul for hanging on the rim. He looks a lot more explosive dunking as of late, which is nice to see. And it looks like he really is 100% healthy for the first time in his career. Steals and breakaway dunks are a welcome addition to his game this season. Hopefully he learned his lesson about hanging on the rim, though.
Jarrod Uthoff decided to come out of the post more against Rutgers, as he scored 12 of his 20 points via the three-point shot. Rutgers' defense was so poor that Uthoff and Jok both had multiple wide open looks from what I saw of this game, and they both took advantage of those opportunities, making 9 of their 15 attempts from the perimeter. Uthoff also gave Iowa eight rebounds (one offensive) and three blocks in this game. His season total points per game is currently at 18.7, but he is now averaging 19.7 points per game against Big Ten foes. That's nearly 20 guaranteed points per night against Big Ten competition, most of which have come against some of the best defenses in the conference up to this point. In other words, don't be surprised if he eclipses the 20 points per game mark in conference play as the schedule lightens up.
Anthony Clemmons was the other main scoring option for Iowa on the night. He had an almost-identical performance to Jarrod Uthoff if you look at the adjusted game score chart. He gave Iowa 20 points, and combined with Uthoff and Jok to score 69 of Iowa's 90 points and make 24 of their 31 field goals. Clemmons carved up Rutgers' defense by scoring 12 points near the rim and handing out five assists with zero turnovers attached. He also hit 2 of Iowa's 11 threes on the night.
After those three, Adam Woodbury seemed to thrive against Rutgers' lack of size. He scored 12 points on the night, six of which came on his six free throw attempts. He also grabbed 11 rebounds (four offensive) and blocked two shots. He did this, of course, in just 22 minutes of play due to foul trouble in the first half. Rutgers' offensive rebounding and first half points in the paint spike coincided with Iowa's big man being on the bench, as four of the Scarlet Knights' six first half offensive boards came when Woodbury was out of the game as did 24 of their 28 first half points in the paint. Rutgers was able to convert all four of those second chance tries, which provided them 8 of their 11 first half second chance points. Woodbury played more in the second half, of course, and Rutgers' rebounding fell off a cliff. All together, Woodbury had a great game, but it could have been one the best of his career had he not had to exit the first half due to fouls.
Then there was Mike Gesell who, despite scoring no points on an 0-5 shooting night, still passed out 9 assists on the night. He apparently did this in 33 minutes on the court with some type of leg injury. Hopefully it's not something that lingers because he's on pace to smash Andre Woolridge's season assist record sooner rather than later.
And, finally, Ahmad Wagner did some nice things in only 10 minutes off the bench. He somehow managed to finish with zero rebounds, but he did block a shot and convert on all three of his field goal attempts, giving him six points on the night.
Overall, Iowa didn't cover the Vegas or Kenpom spreads, but I think we should still be happy with this win. Off nights happen and Iowa still won this game by 14, despite not playing up to their potential on defense. The Hawks are now 6-0 in Big Ten play, and heavy favorites to win the Big Ten regular season title by just about every advanced stats site out there. Of course, basketball is played on the hardwood, and there are still 12 games to go. It starts with a rematch against a Purdue team looking for revenge. Let's hope Iowa's defensive woes will stay limited to just this one game.
So, from you, BHGP commentariat, I want you to give me your opinion on what was up with Iowa's defense last night? Was it just an off night or Iowa appearing uninterested in this game? Did Woodbury going out with foul trouble play any part in Rutgers keeping it close in the first half? And what was up with the fast break points off of defensive rebounds for Rutgers last night?