Jordan Bohannon shot over 50 percent while dropping 19 points and 11 assists in a 87-75 win for Iowa in the first round of the NIT against a hapless South Dakota squad.
Like really hapless. Make no mistake: Iowa was B-A-D tonight, and South Dakota’s overall inferiority and Iowa’s depth and hot shooting towards the end allowed Iowa to advance. There aren’t many teams that Iowa can beat when it plays like this. Luckily, South Dakota is one of those teams.
The game started off slow and bad and it was hard to watch. Iowa committed 10 turnovers (finished with 16) while hitting 2 of its 5 free throw attempts. Luckily, South Dakota allowed Iowa to shoot 55 percent in the first frame, giving the Hawkeyes only a 4-point lead at half. It would have been a two-point lead if it wasn’t for a ridiculous Tyler Cook put-back as the clock hit zero.
Iowa certainly played better in the second half, but the Hawkeyes were still sleepwalking at home. South Dakota executed 11 steals and got in to Iowa’s passing lanes all game. Iowa’s talent and depth was enough to overcome all its mistakes, though.
Four Hawkeyes scored double-digits: Bohannon, Peter Jok (20) Tyler Cook (18) and Isaiah Moss (16). Each player took over at times during the game, and Cook’s work under the rim was something spectacular at times. Though of course he should have been dominating like that. Cook also finished with 8 boards, and Iowa needed each of them.
As a team, Iowa shot 56 percent from the field and 43 percent from range. The Hawkeyes were getting open looks all game, which in retrospect was a bad strategy for the South Dakota coaching staff. Give credit to the Coyotes, though. They did their homework, and found many of the weaknesses in Iowa’s defense. In the end, they just couldn’t keep pace.
South Dakota shot 42 percent overall, led by Matt Mooney’s 24-point effort. Tyler Flack had 16 while shooting 6-11 from the field, and Trey Dickerson had 10, all of which came in the first half. It looked as though Dickerson was going become a problem for Iowa, but fouls and an injury in the second frame kept him from doing so.
Overall, this was perhaps the sloppiest first half of Iowa basketball I’ve seen all season. The second half wasn’t horribly better, but Iowa was able to use its talent and three-point shooting to overcome. Guys who normally stuff the stat sheet like Cordell Pemsl and Nicholas Baer didn’t play much, but they didn’t have to. Other guys stepped up, and Iowa had this one put away right as the fourth segment of the game was starting. Or is it the second segment of the second half?
Next up, Iowa plays TCU at home Sunday night at 6:30. The game will be on ESPNU. If Iowa doesn’t clean it up, it’s going to be another long game.