The Iowa Hawkeyes (2-1) played the #8 Creighton Blue Jays (3-0) to a draw in the first half before the Jays went on a huge run to start the second half. It put the Hawks in a hole they could not dig out of. Trey Alexander was the man of the match, finishing an assist shy of a triple double. However Iowa did well to make him work for his 23 points (9/19 shooting) and overall matched the intensity necessary to beat a highly ranked team.
Here are some additional takeaways:
The Hawks allowed too many second half runs
Throughout the first half, these teams traded punch after punch. Iowa was able to keep the game within reach by matching their shots and forcing the Blue Jays to take the ball out of the basket and allowing Iowa to set their defense. In the frame, Iowa had 4 blocks & 4 steals along with 11 Creighton turnovers.
Out of the second half, though, Creighton made 10 straight shots, including 4 threes as the offense with the starters felt a little stuck in the mud. Even though Iowa hit midrange shots at a high clip, missing even three jumpers in the first three minutes allowed the Blue Jays to run on their own terms.
That being said...this team has some dog
When Iowa got down 80-63 with 9:17, it felt like there was a real chance of this one going off the rails. Iowa was able to make 8 of their next 10 shots to close the gap to 89-84 while the Jays went triple-double hunting for Trey Alexander went the last 6:39 without a made basket.
Much of that stretch happened with Iowa’s bench unit on the floor, which added some shakiness to the high wire act but they pulled it off. After getting himself into 2-foul jail in the first, Owen Freeman led the group with 8 points on 4/6 shooting in the frame and was not afraid going at the 7’1” Ryan Kalkbrenner.
The midrange is alive and well
Ben Krikke led all scorers with 24 points on 11/18 shooting with pretty much every shot coming from outside the paint. The Hawks finished 18/38 on non-layup/dunks two-pointers which are opportunities they’ll have to capitalize on as teams look to take away the paint and the 3.
Two foul jail strikes again
While Freeman found himself firmly planted there after a couple quick ones, the bigger story was Payton Sandfort who got two fouls in just six first half minutes where he was 3/3, including a couple treys. While Iowa stayed afloat with him on the bench, it left him cold for the second half.
The offense looked a little stuck in the mud as they tried to free Sandfort and even he seemed to be pressing a bit. He chased his own miss and landed really awkwardly with his head coming into contact with the floor. He was able to return, and it’s probably a little silly to tie it back to him sitting for such a long stretch in the first half but the end result was just 18 minutes for Sandfort. Something Iowa can ill afford to have.
Tony Perkins is backing up the offseason talk of making all-conference defensive team
While Alexander was able to get to his spots for much of the night, Perk made every shot tough and continued to ring the bell till the end. He finished with 3 steals and a huge block in the final minutes and overall looked the part of lead guard, including sparking the offense down the stretch.
Next up: vs. Arkansas State, Friday 11/17 at 7p (BTN+)