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NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa played one half of good basketball, and one half of something that could only be described as mind-boggling ineptitude in and around the hardwood to lose its B1G/ACC Challenge game to Virginia Tech 79-55.

We were treated to probably the most exciting half of basketball all year when it became a scoring contest between Jordan Bohannon and Virginia Tech’s P.J. Horne, each of whom had 12 at the break. JoBo was 4-4 from three and was absolutely en fuego.

The first half featured six lead changes, but Iowa held the advantage up until the final 6:22 when an Ahmed Hill 3 made it 27-26 Tech. Shortly before that, Tyler Cook murdered someone.

The first half also featured our first look of WRATH, when Fran stormed on the court, likely mad over the fact that the entire Tech bench was on the hardwood after a Horne field goal, and also probably mad over the foul discrepancy: Iowa was called for fouls 13 times, while VT got the whistle blown on them just 5 times in the first half.

Jordan Bohannon hit 2 threes in the final 90 seconds of the half, and a desperate heave over the backboard left it knotted at 38 at the break.

The second half was as bad as the first half was good.

Kerry Blackshear Jr. and Tyler Cook traded baskets to start it off and then... well, Iowa went on a scoring drought that lasted six minutes and 59 seconds. The Hawkeyes were outscored 14-0 during that time and the Hokies never looked back from there.

And it could have even been worse!

Iowa scored just 10 points in the first 16 minutes of the second frame. After shooting 51 percent in the first half, the Hawkeyes shot a putrid 18 percent, going 7-37 from the floor.

Bohannon cooled down and never scored again, missing his next 4 3-point attempts. Bad offense affected the defense and Iowa was left to suffer a death by pull-up jumpers and slice-and-dicing.

Defense has always been a criticism of Fran’s teams, but it doesn’t matter if the offense can’t get anything working. Iowa was 2-20 shooting at one point in the second frame. Shots falling yada yada.

What has also been a criticism of Fran is his reluctance to call timeouts. We watched Iowa score 3 points in 8 minutes before McCaffery switched his lineup. By then, the damage had been done.

Next up, Iowa has Penn State at home Saturday. The Nittany Lions may actually be decent this year! Iowa, meanwhile, could be bad.

Other notes

  • To me, Iowa lives and dies by Jordan Bohannon. When his shots aren’t falling and he’s turning the ball over, this offense can’t find much rhythm. Brady Ellingson and Maishe Dailey have yet to prove they can effectively run this offense.
  • It was good to see Nicholas Baer back, but he’s clearly got some rust after missing the last few weeks with a broken pinky. He finished with just 5 points on 2-9 shooting but he did at least seem to provide a spark on defense and helped force some turnovers. He also turned it over twice himself.
  • Tyler Cook is a man amongst boys. He had a team-high 16 points, and it would have been more if Cordell Pemsl and Maishe Dailey were able to execute better passes when he was poised to execute a MURDERDUNK.
  • Cook was the only other Hawkeye to score double figures besides Bohannon. Reminder: Bohannon didn’t score at all in the second half.
  • Luka Garza was assessed two quick fouls in the first half and sat the rest of the frame. He played just 14 minutes total, which isn’t enough IMO.
  • Pemsl, Cook, and Jack Nunge seem to be the only players who care about rebounding.
  • Ahmad Wagner sustained a nasty blow to the head just 2 minutes into the game. He was taken to the locker room, but returned later. He finished with just 2 points and 2 rebounds in 12 minutes.
  • This team certainly has talent, but it’s going to be a work in progress. I suspect we have some absolutely incredible wins, and some mind-numbing losses, like every year.
  • Virginia Tech has a very cool watermark of what I assume to be its quad or student union or whatever on its court. I would be all for Iowa adding a similar watermark of the Old Capitol to Carver.
  • And that’s that. As of this writing, the Big Ten is 1-6 in the B1G/ACC Challenge. You need 8 wins to clinch the challenge.