Iowa hosted Delaware State in the final contest before everyone leaves for their holiday break and the Hawkeyes were certainly in the festive spirit. Everyone got into the scoring action as this one was really over before it started.
Iowa came out of the gate hot pulling out to an 11-2 lead with 16:30 to go in the first half and they really never looked back. It was the freshmen who got it going early as Jordan knocked down a triple to kick off the scoring and Isaiah Moss added the next 5. Iowa’s defense showed some flashes early, but struggled sticking with it for the full shot clock. Luckily, Delaware St. was ice cold shooting in the first half.
Missed shots by the Hornets, transition points and knocking down open looks helped Iowa build on the early lead, which climbed to 21-10 before Delaware St. decided they should take a TO and talk things over following a wide open Peter Jok 3. Following the timeout, DSU started to double-team Jok almost every time he touched the rock.
It didn’t seem to matter as Iowa proceeded to go on a 21-1 run, taking a 39-11 lead to the 5 minute mark in the first half. Iowa closed out the half without Jok, who left at the 6:30 mark after falling on his hip chasing down a loose ball.
The Hawkeyes took a 43-20 lead into the half, led by Jok’s 10 and a slew of guys, including Isaiah Moss, Maishe Dailey, Ahmad Wagner and Cordell Pemsl with 5 points. Deleware State shot a paltry 15% from the floor (with only 5 made FGs) in the first half. they actually shot better from 3 (16%). Iowa, meanwhile, shot 54% from the field and 42% from 3 in the first half.
Iowa fans collectively breathed a sigh of relief when Peter Jok started the second half and seemed just fine. He notched a quick 7 points in the first 4 minutes of the half and then found his way to the bench for the rest of the nigh. He finished with 17 points in only 15 minutes of action.
No Jok, no problem for this young team. Iowa lept out to a 55-27 lead going into the first media timeout and the sloppy play that ensued wasn’t enough to get Delaware State back into it.
Iowa stretched the lead to 30 at 76-46 late. Despite 17 turnovers, the Hawkeyes outscored the Hornets 21-0 on fast break points.
At the end of the day, it was an 89-57 for the Hawkeyes.
It’s hard to take too much from a game like this one, but the distribution of scoring was definitely nice to see with Jok resting much of the night. Wagner finished with 12 points and 4 boards. Moss at 10 points. Williams had 9 while Dailey, Pemsl and Ellingson all added 8 each. Uhl had 7 and Bohannon and Kreiner both had 5. Baer was the only one left out of the action tonight.
The turnovers and overall sloppy play in the second half isn’t something you want to see, but isn’t unexpected in a blowout game against an overmatched opponent right before Christmas break. Still, you’d like to see Iowa show the same defensive intensity every game out knowing what could happen in Big Ten play without it.
Free throws are also a concern. The Hawks shot 66% from the line tonight with Wagner going 2-6. It obviously didn’t matter tonight, but it’s one of those things you hope to have improve as we get into tighter games.
On the plus side, Isaiah Moss looks fantastic, especially in the open court. He’s long enough to find himself in passing lanes and finishes well in traffic. Wagner’s struggles around the rim continued. Right until they didn’t. This one counted in my book.
Maishe Dailey looked very solid tonight in some extended minutes. He had a nice flush in transition, but also showed the ability to knock down open looks from 3. With the focus Peter Jok is sure to get, guys who can hit open shots is going to be key down the stretch.
When it was all said and done, it was what we expected in the final non-conference game. Iowa finishes non-conference play with 5 straight wins and are sitting at 8-5 heading into Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes are at Purdue on Wednesday at 7:30PM CT on BTN.