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Tyler Cook showed out in the finale between the two teams

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

In one of the #21/22 Iowa Hawkeyes’ (8-2) cleanest games of the season, they sent the Northern Iowa Panthers (4-6) packing in the finale of the Hy-Vee Classic, 77-54.

Iowa’s starting lineup did the bulk of the damage, as they raced to an 11-point lead in the opening seven minutes of the game. During that time, they made three threes (Luka Garza, Joe Wieskamp, and Jordan Bohannon) and Tyler Cook asserted himself in transition with five points and an assist in that duration.

There was nothing the Panthers could do to neutralize the size Iowa had. Cook and Garza combined for 23 points on 8/13 shooting and 6/8 free throws in the first half which had Iowa up 39-18. Bohannon, Wieskamp, and Baer filled in the gaps.

The second half was very much more of the same as Iowa found themselves up 58-33 with 11:31 remaining. Cook looked like a man possessed on his way to 17 points with only one missed basket and the Hawks went +24 when he was on the court. He added 13 rebounds and five assists for maybe his most well-rounded performance of his Hawkeye career.

Luka Garza got to 17 points, and Wieskamp scored another five in the second half for a round 10 on the game for Iowa’s only double-digit scorers. While Garza was 7/14, he was 5/9 from two. Bohannon went 3/5 from deep for 9 points, too! Fun times.

Defensively, it’s clear Iowa has elevated their effort. 54 points is an impressive number, no doubt, but UNI could not buy a basket, as they shot 36.4% on the game. Bohannon did a good job on freshman A.J. Green, as he finished with only 2 points on 1/8 shooting. The Panthers regularly put him in a pick-and-roll and Bohannon did a good job fighting over screens and when they switched, Hawkeye bigs kept Green in front of him.

With that, the rivalry is over. In his time with media before the game, Gary Barta was comfortable with Iowa’s current scheduling arrangement with the “buy” games of sub-300 teams in 4-6 home games which are not mandated by the conference or non-conference tournament. Today’s game was certainly not a vote of confidence to continue the series.