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Iowa 93, Nebraska 84: First Cut

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THAT FELT GOOD

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

Iowa basketball avoided a potentially disastrous 0-4 start to conference play Sunday evening with a 93-84 win over Nebraska.

Luka Garza was thought to originally be ruled for his fourth consecutive game, so Ryan Kriener earned his first start as a Hawkeye, and in the opening seconds of the bout he made a pretty big statement:

Oh baby! Kriener ended the game with a season-high 14 points and shot 5-8 from the field.

The first quarter of the contest was an objectively exciting back-and-forth affair that featured two corner three’s from Joe Wieskamp and general dominance from Isaac Copeland Jr. He led the Huskers with 24 points, shooting 50 percent from the field.

Tyler Cook continued to insert himself as a lynchpin for this team on offense. He made his presence known on both ends of the court and led the team with 12 points and 4 boards at half. Four of those points came at the line, where Iowa shot 10-11 in the first half and 29-32 in the second frame. This team does seem to absolutely thrive when it can get to the charity stripe.

And we should probably talk about that Luka Garza thing--he’s been sorely missed in the last couple games as he’s inarguably been one of Iowa’s most important pieces this year. Well, he came into the game after the first substitution and had a cool 6 points. He never entered in the second half and ended the game with 8 points and 2 boards. He provided a spark and energy this team sorely needs.

Just before halftime in our slack group, we were wondering what was wrong with Jordan Bohannon lately. He gave up two easy boards on defense and was 0-2 on the field. In big games it has kinda sorta felt like the guy who would lead the offense in scoring has been a little invisible.

He promptly went on to hit a buzzer-beater to give Iowa a 44-40 lead at the break.

And then the game really was kinda sorta the Jordan Bohannon show. He was a scorching hot 5-8 from range, a perfect 10-10 from the charity stripe and ended the game with a +12 rating. I assume that’s good. He had a team-high 25 points and was automatic from just about everywhere.

Iowa’s scorching-hot performance a the line (and not-so-bad 10-22 clip from three), coupled with the fact Nebraska shot 4-23 from three, really spelt death for the Huskers.

The second half was still exciting, if not sloppy given the amount of fouls called. Nebraska would never gain a lead, but made it interesting by amassing a 13-6 run to make it 72-68 with six minutes left in the game. Then, predictably, Jordan Bohannon hit a three to give Iowa some breathing room and all but shut the door on the Huskers.

As I said earlier, a loss to Nebraska would’ve had the Hawkeyes staring at an 0-4 start to conference play which would’ve made things really difficult for Iowa’s postseason chances. This is a good win over a Nebraska team that has a real shot of making the tourney. Iowa needed this confidence booster going into a slate that includes matchups against Northwestern and then a really talented Ohio State team.

Other notes:

  • 84 points given up is obviously is not the best, but the Hawkeyes did a really good job of shutting down Glenn Watson Jr., who tied a season low of 6 points.
  • I’m kind of over the Maishe Dailey experiment
  • Tim Miles is the worst-dressed coach in the Big Ten
  • I didn’t talk much about Isaiah Moss, but he deserves mention. He led Iowa with 10 boards to go along with 12 points and despite shooting just 30 percent from the field he was able to get a bucket when Iowa really needed one.