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QUICK RECAP: Iowa Basketball Outlasts Grambling State, 85-74

The Hawkeyes did not look great despite the victory.

Purdue v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

It wasn’t necessarily pretty, as Grambling State kept Iowa busy for three-quarters of the game before the Hawkeyes were able to pull away, but you’ll take the wins any way that you can get ‘em. Iowa led by as much as nine points early on before Grambling came back and took a three-point lead with about 11 minutes left in the game. The turning point of the game was shortly thereafter, when Fran McCaffery called a timeout to regroup the team and they went on a 14-0 run and never looked back.

We’re not going to learn a whole lot about this team from this victory, but there are a few things to take away from a game against the #346 team in the country, per Kenpom.

  1. Iowa still has a lot of work to do on defense. Particularly in transition. A few times the Hawkeyes slow getting back on defense, leading to an easy transition bucket for Grambling State. They also looked incredibly slow on defense - much of this has to do with facing a much more agile lineup, but the Hawks are going to have to find someone to replace Nicholas Baer’s intensity on the perimeter. Tyler Cook and the Hawkeye bigs were often left out on the perimeter to play defense and they struggled a bit containing the smaller, faster Tigers.
  2. Free throw shooting looked pretty good! Iowa hit 27 of 36 from the charity stripe in this one, good for 75%. The only Hawkeye not to make at least half his free throws was Luka Garza, who went 1-for-4. If they can continue to hit free throws at that clip, they’ll be much better off.
  3. Iowa inexplicably chose not to use their size to their advantage on offense. This was just kind of weird, in my opinion. They had a clear advantage for most of the game, even utilizing a lineup that included 7’0” Garza, 6’11” Jack Nunge, 6’9” Tyler Cook, and 6’8” Cordell Pemsl. Yet, they only scored 30 points in the paint (the same amount as GSU) and were out-rebounded on the offensive boards 13-10. Grambling State was able to take advantage of a lot of long rebounds, but it felt like Iowa’s feet were cemented into the ground on multiple occasions.

Some extra notes from this one:

  • Dom Uhl did not play in this one. It looks like he’s going to be left out of the rotation this season, which is unfortunate for the senior.
  • Nunge led Iowa with 17 points and sunk three of his five three-point attempts. Four other Hawkeyes scored in double figures (Isaiah Moss and Cook 15, Garza 13, and Jordan Bohannon 12).
  • Speaking of Bohannon, he really struggled to find his shot in this one. He went just 1-for-7 from the field, hitting a three-pointer for the first basket of the game and then going ice cold. Iowa’s going to need him down the stretch against better teams or they’re going to struggle.
  • Iowa turned the ball over nine times in the first half, but were able to take better care of the ball in the second half, only committing four turnovers.
  • Fran called a timeout with a minute remaining and the game well out of reach to give his players hell after Grambling State scored an easy transition bucket. That pretty much explains this one.

All-in-all, Iowa was able to take care of a team they should’ve beaten and are now 3-0 on the young season. This is still a young squad and they’re going to have some growing pains, but for now, they’re off to the Cayman Islands.

Next up: Lousiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.