Another night, another stellar performance from Keegan Murray, who had 26 points, 6 rebounds 4 assists, and a steal and a block apiece, as the Iowa Hawkeyes (4-0) cruised past the Alabama State Hornets (0-5), 108-82 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
22 of Murray’s points in the first half alone as the 3-point shot opened up from the get-go for Iowa, including Murray on the first shot of the game, allowing the Hawkeyes to jump out to a 26-8 run to get the game going, capped off by a great alley-oop lob from Joe Toussaint to Murray. It proved to be the death blow for the outmatched Hornets, as the Hawkeyes came out from tip the more determined and energetic team after Tuesday night’s matchup against NC Central proved too close for comfort deep into the second half.
The Hawks set the school-record for made 3-pointers in a game with 20 on the game, shooting 20-42 on the night, including 11-20 from deep in the first half alone. This came after going 5-23 on Tuesday.
After tying the record Tuesday and missing his next eight attempts, Jordan Bohannon became the all-time leader of 3-pointers made in the Big Ten history after hitting his 375th with 17:56 left in the first half. He scored all of his 12 points from beyond the arc, and went 4-8.
When it rains, it pours from beyond the arc for this Hawkeye squad, apparently. Not only did Murray get hot from deep, but we also saw Payton Sandfort get hot off the bench from beyond the arc and in the lane. The freshman finished the night with a scorching hot 21 points on 7-15 shooting, including 5 three-pointers. For a team that has looked lost when running its second united, having Sandfort potentially emerge as a reliable shooter off the bench would prove extremely beneficial.
In total, nine different Hawks hit from 3-point land, including Filip Rebraca, who hit his only attempt from deep on the night and tallying 5 points and 8 rebounds.
Toussaint also had his best game of the young season, finally connecting on some passes on fast break situations and driving the lane with reckless abandon to the tune of 11 points, 10 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. It was the first double-double of his career.
Kris Murray, in extended playing time to start the second half in particular, showed flashes similar to what his brother looked like last year, scoring at will from deep and driving the lane with some versatile athleticism, as well as crashing the boards with abandon. He finished the night with a solid 17 points and 8 rebounds off the bench in a standout performance as he continues to gain playing time.
In all, Iowa’s second half lead was so large that Keegan Murray and the rest of the didn’t even play for nearly the entire first 7 minutes of the second half as the contributions from the second string continued to pour in. Things cooled down from deep, but after hitting 11 in the first half, the bulk of the damage had already been done and the team cruised.
Were the Hornets outmatched? Absolutely. But getting to see strong performances from Sandfort and Kris Murray in particular was encouraging. The season remains extremely young and the talent will only get better, but this team will certainly be interesting to watch as conference play gets nearer.