The Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0) beat the North Carolina A&T Aggies (1-1) in another delightful rout, 112-71. The Hawks got it rolling with 11/23 shooting from deep (47.8%) and 51.9% from the field. Here are my takeaways.
Kris Murray gets on track
Murray had a lackluster first game scoring points with just 14. However, he made a more concerted effort to look for his shot this game and, while a couple seemed a little misguided, he finished the first half with 15 alone. In the first five minutes of the second half, he got 7 on 2/2 shooting with a couple of free throws to finish with 22. He finished with a clean 7/11, adding eight rebounds and two assists.
Alongside Murray, Patrick McCaffery also got it going with 21 points on 8/15 shooting and five boards.
Tony Perkins is the agent of chaos Iowa needs
Two plays within about 90 seconds of gametime (across half):
1) Iowa had a sideways possession before half, resulting in an Aggie defensive board with about 6 seconds remaining. Perkins contested the outlet, gathered the steal and hit a fadeaway midrange jumper to finish the half.
2) On a routine baseline inbound play inside the first minute or so of the second half, NC A&T chucked it towards half court, Perkins skied for the steal and found Payton Sandfort for a breakaway layup.
I never know exactly what he’s going to do but he plays right on the razor’s edge of insanity while still being controlled: six assists to zero turnovers.
Iowa’s bench remains a work in progress
Ahron Ulis, Dasonte Bowen, and Connor McCaffery came on at about the 13-minute mark and saw the momentum from the starters’ hot start come to a screeching halt. A 10-point lead was shrunk to 3 before Iowa’s starters got it going again, finishing the half with a 24-7 stretch.
The trio of guys-who-could-play-point-guard don’t really have a ton of chemistry. Spacing takes a hit and the offense gets a little stagnant. Add a dash of no Perkins/Murray on the court and the scoring gets really difficult, even against teams like North Carolina A&T. With a game at Seton Hall on Wednesday, Fran McCaffery might have to make a decision to switch up the rotation to keep the offense afloat.
(The second half saw the group get rolling but not for awhile. The first bench basket occurred at the 11:17 mark of the second half with the game well in-hand.)
This team shares the ball especially well
Iowa’s starters find the open guy. Each starter had 2+ assists. The team finished with 25 assists and 4 turnovers.
Iowa did what they needed to do, going 2-0 this week. They’ll head to New Jersey to take on Seton Hall in the Gavitt Games. Tip is Wednesday at 6:30p.