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SNOWBALLED: IOWA BEATS NORTHERN ILLINOIS 98-75

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Hawkeyes capitalize on high-powered first half to cruise to victory

NCAA Basketball: Northern Illinois at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes ran out to a 13-0 lead within three minutes en route to a 98-75 win against the Northern Illinois Huskies.

During the run, Tyler Cook scored nine points in a variety of ways: in transition, in the post, and from the perimeter. His jumper, by my count was 3 of 3 on the night. He closed with 17 points on 6/7 shooting, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. He also had 3 turnovers but we’ll gloss over that today.

Luka Garza was flames from all over the court as he went 8/8, including 3 threes, on his way to 25 points in 16 minutes. Now that’s efficiency. He added 7 rebounds to lead the game and quietly had 5 blocks.

The story of the game, however, was the passing. My goodness, the passing. Iowa was doing a great job all night of probing the defense and finding the open man. It was, without a doubt, their cleanest game of the season. They tallied 34 assists - tied for a school record - against 8 turnovers.

There were open shots galore. On back to back possessions in the second half, Iowa found Cordell Pemsl for wide open layups after moving the ball against NIU’s 1-3-1 zone. Garza took each of his three threes (from just left of the top of the key) with barely a Husky around him. Ellingson sank two wide open corner threes. Iowa’s offense looked exactly like it should.

Yes, competition should be taken into account. Northern Illinois was rated 237th by KenPom coming into the game. Eugene German was able to get by Iowa guards nearly at will, which remains a concern heading into conference play. Maishe Dailey, after another impressive 11 minutes, was injured on a high-flying dunk and never returned. Iowa absolutely needs him to be at full capacity for conference play.

But let’s address those concerns tomorrow. For the last week of 2017, Iowa football and basketball are undefeated.