It wasn’t pretty, but it was Iowa basketball and a wins a win is a win is a win, so we’ll take Iowa’s 77-63 victory over Missouri-Kansas City and move on.
It more or less took 15 minutes for Iowa to really start playing in this one. The Hawkeyes were lackadaisical and unwilling to defend early on. We were knotted at 22 with 5 minutes left before the Hawkeyes started to use their size and talent advantage to pull away and make it a slightly comfortable 34-26 lead at half. UMKC point guard Xavier Bishop banked a three-pointer as time expired in the half to erase a double-digit lead—a lead that was surmounted thanks to five consecutive points off free throws.
And real quick about Bishop—he kind of dominated Iowa in the first half—all 5-8, 150 lbs of him. He continuously beat Jordan Bohannon on both ends of the court and picked his pocket. Bishop led the Kangaroos with 9 points in the first half, but was shut down pretty well in the second. He ended the game with 14 points, shooting 2-7 from three.
Iowa doesn’t have an Xavier Bishop, but it has a Joe Wieskamp, and that’s better. Wieskamp went 4-5 from beyond the arc in the first frame and Iowa needed him, because everyone not named Joe Wieskamp shot 4-18 in the first half.
And the ‘Roos (I’ll never get sick of writing that) lingered in the second half. Oh boy, did they linger. UMKC went on a 7-1 run to start the frame to cut it to 35-33. Iowa looked like it was about to mount a run after a three-point play from Connor McCaffery, but then committed their 10th turnover of the game—just five minutes into the half, mind you.
Then Iowa went on a 9-0 run and assembled a 15-point lead. It was brief, UMKC would flirt in striking distance for awhile, but finally, with five minutes left to play the Hawkeyes put it away. Joe Wieskamp scored his first point of the second half (so much for that hot start—he still led all Iowa scorers with 15), Luka Garza hit both his free throws, Tyler Cook forced an and-1 and McCaffery hit both his free throws off a hack to put the Hawkeyes up 69-54 and make this just out of reach.
Iowa would pour it on these final few minutes, but it was still sloppy. The Hawkeyes committed 16 turnovers all game, so that’s still a thing. Iowa shot just 44 percent from the floor, going 7-25 from behind the arc. To their credit, the Hawkeyes went to the charity stripe 38 times, making 28 of those attempts. Four Iowa players scored in double-figures—Maishe Dailey (11), Bohannon (12), Cook (12) and the aforementioned Wieskamp kept the scoreboard lit up.
Cook and Ryan Kriener led the way with 8 rebounds apiece. Kriener notched 6 points as well and himself a nice little night. Cook’s 14-point, 8-rebound, 5 assist effort looks really, really nice.
And that’s kind of it. Iowa didn’t look all that great, and we might be lucky UMKC is relatively inferior, but that’s how it goes. You can tell the talent is there for Iowa, but I’m going to be real pessimistic if it’s going to be battle to fix the mistakes we’ve seen year after year.
Next up Iowa plays Green Bay on Sunday. Beat the Packers!