The Iowa Hawkeyes played well in their debut against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. They ran away with it for the 110-68 victory. Payton Sandfort led the way for Iowa with 21 points and had a team-high 9 boards.
Here are some takeaways:
Starters did what they needed to
Behind Payton Sandfort’s hot start (11 points in five-plus minutes) the Hawkeyes amassed a 21-9 lead and never looked back. Tony Perkins and Ben Krikke took awhile to get on the board, though active defense by both, raised the floor on their respective first halves.
There were also two other important stretches of basketball from this group: first in the lead-up to halftime, North Dakota had cut the lead to 16 with 2:00 left. Iowa went on an 8-0 run to end the frame up 56-32.
The second spot was when they returned to the game with 7:36 left after the subs gave up an 11-2 run. Krikke scored a couple quick baskets, Payton added a jumper and highlight reel dunk, and Dasonte Bowen closed it with a three-point play to go up 99-63 and get the reserves back on the court.
All five ended up in double-digits.
The second unit is volatile
While the downside of playing four freshmen at a time is a run like what they faced in the middle of the second half, there is PLENTY of upside. Brock Harding led the team with 7 assists as his chemistry with high school teammate Owen Freeman translated incredibly well. Freeman had 14 points (7/8 shooting) and Ladji Dembele finished with 8 himself, including a pair of threes.
In the first half, the stretched the lead from 12 to 21 in a little over two minutes.
But they showed the warts of young guys, with Freeman drawing four fouls in the second half, Harding having three turnovers, and Pryce Sandfort never really finding his shot. But way more good than bad out of that group.
There just seemed to be a little different mindset in the first half when it came to the defense. Perkins didn’t let his missed shots affect him on that end of the court, early, and Bowen got a steal in the backcourt just ahead of halftime. On the whole, Iowa forced 19 turnovers (12 steals!) with their length and active hands.
While it ebbed and flowed throughout the game - BJ Omet led all scorers with 24 points - it did feel just a little bit different than past seasons. One area for opportunity: defensive rebounding. Despite the size Iowa has in their backup unit, they were getting outrebounded substantially on defense. 26.7% isn’t a horrible offensive rebounding rate to yield, but certainly not where Iowa would like to see it.
I thought Patrick McCaffery was great rebounding tonight.
Next up: Alabama State, Friday 11/8 at 7p (Peacock)