In a game which was never seriously in doubt, the Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0) defeated the Longwood Lancers (0-1) 106-73. Considering some of the trouble fellow Big Ten teams found themselves in tonight, the day’s finale was a nice reprieve.
Keegan Murray led all scorers with 24 points on 8/10 shooting, including 3 threes, 7 rebounds, and 5 (!!!) blocks in just 17 minutes of play. Jordan Bohannon joined him in double digits at 18 on 6/8 shooting, all threes.
Here are some assorted takeaways from the night.
Keegan slid right into his role as the go-to guy
Murray entered the game with a career high of 14 points coming into the season and broke that with 4:35 remaining...in the first half. He did it all with some off the bounce action, including taking a few defensive rebounds into the frontcourt, from three, and all the stuff he showed last week. Hustle while playing restrained, contesting every shot, second chance baskets. Full Keegan Murray experience, this one.
When they hit threes, watch out
Bohannon also did his thing, as mentioned above. The team is going to look really good if the shots are dropping from beyond the arc as they did tonight. The 15 threes tonight (45.5%) would be the third highest from last season’s team and that percentage would rank 7th. That’ll do!
This team looks a lot different
After losing their share of multi-year contributors - most notably Luka Garza & Joe Wieskamp - this is a pretty obvious one. The skillset down low is much, much different with Patrick McCaffery and Filip Rebraca. Thad noted that Iowa can push with pretty much anyone who rebounds an opponent shot which allows for the Hawks to catch defenses before they set. Each starter had an assist - they combined for 11 of Iowa’s 24 - and operated with a different blend of skill and athleticism than past seasons.
Another area which felt much different was the ball pressure Joe Toussaint and Ahron Ulis put on opposing point guards. They went with the full court press a number of times to delay Longwood from getting into their sets with JT gathering 4 steals. He looked full of confidence, whipping no look passes, hitting a couple jumpers, while having moments of semi-controlled chaos.
The bench didn’t suffer the same issues as their exhibition
The group often used defense to generate their offense, with Tony Perkins and Payton Sandfort connecting for a nice transition layup to spur the first half scoring for the group, as bench players had 14 in the first half. Ulis was active on the boards for a guard and had 6 points and 5 assists. Kris Murray really shined as the game grew old and finished with 16 points on 7/9 shooting and 7 boards.
Perhaps most important, Iowa never struggled with turnovers. They finished with just 8 on the game and while there was plenty of time where the general gameplay was raggedy, the Hawks rarely wasted possessions.
The wardrobe is chaos
This is more a broad point of criticism as Fran & co stuck with the trusty quarter-zips. Longwood head coach, Griff Aldrich (a former lawyer???) went suit, no tie. Chris Holtmann went with the consultant’s uniform: dress shirt and logo vest. Mike Woodson? Full suit & tie!
Utter pandemonium. Can’t wait to see more contrasting styles. Pun intended.
Next up: Friday 11/12 at 7p CST, UMKC Kangaroos