Iowa overcame a 9-0 deficit to start the game and a 22-10 hole later on to come back against a flailing Indiana squad, battling to take down the Hoosiers (in overtime!) 96-90.
Peter Jok, boy did we miss you. The senior and glue of this team showed up in a big way after taking a few games off from his previously unconscious scoring run. He had a modest 35, most of the work coming from the charity stripe where he went a bonkers 22-23. He played 38 minutes tonight, and Iowa needed him the whole time. Iowa got to the free throw line on 22 of their final 28 possessions and Jok was a major part of that.
We can talk about the slow start here, which has been a problem of sorts for this team. To combat that, Fran played 12 different guys in the first four minutes of the game. I guess that worked. Iowa turned it over 8 times in the first half, and 6 of those turnovers came in the first 9 minutes.
A 17-4 run for Iowa to close out the half kept the Hawkeyes down just 1 going into the second frame, and building that confidence was big.
Iowa wasn’t nearly as sloppy in the second half, but it still allowed the Hoosiers to crawl to a modest 7-point lead. Then Nicholas Baer happened.
Baer ended the game with 10 points, 7 boards and 2 blocks. His exchange above led to a surge for Iowa, giving the Hawks a chance to bust their slump.
And then there was Tyler Cook, who finished with 14 points and did some things under the rim that no one else on this roster can.
Tyler Cook with not one, but two huge dunks pic.twitter.com/PelHOvqBc3— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 22, 2017
The Hawkeyes looked to Cook towards the end of the game to finish it up in regulation, but we all know how #B1GRefs work, so obviously this was a no call.
Anyway, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t nervous for overtime, but Peter Jok turned it on, scoring 9 consecutive points for Iowa. Everyone seemed to step it up during free basketball, and that coupled with FOUR (!) Indiana players fouling out was the cherry on top for Iowa.
Also Ryan Kriener did a thing.
This was a big big win for the confidence of this young team. Christian Williams had the best game of his career (career-high 10 points) and he was on the floor at the same time as Bohannon during meaningful minutes for the first time all year. We expect and hope that he becomes a more integral part of the lineup, as his defense is absolutely needed.
Is Iowa going to make the tourney? Almost certainly not. Could this be the win we look back on next year as the game where this team took a step or two in the right direction? Maybe!
Up next, Iowa goes to Maryland on Saturday. Bring on the Terps.