What three-game losing streak? Seriously, that depressed feeling we all felt last week? That seems like it was forever ago. Just like that, Iowa has two double-digit wins in a row, and we are all back on cloud nine again. The roller coaster that is this season continues.
Now I don't know what happened to Maryland to start the game, but they looked pretty terrible and Iowa looked quite the opposite. The Hawkeyes were up 17-3 after the first 10 minutes had left the clock, and they had extended that 14-point lead to 23 by halftime. Even with the second half struggles that Iowa had earlier this season, it was going to be hard to blow that lead. And that proved to be true, as the Terps came out of the locker room looking better, and even outscored the Hawks by 7 in the second half. However, Iowa didn't fold when Maryland found a rhythm on offense, and they found a way to answer just about every time that Maryland made a run.
The end result? Complete and utter domination.
Four Factors in Review
First Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.17, Maryland 0.50 (!!!)
First Half Possessions: 34
Second Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.03, Maryland 1.27
Second Half Possessions: 30
Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.10, Maryland 0.85
This was the best shot selection I've seen all year by Iowa. Going through the box score, I counted 59.5% of their field goal attempts near the rim, 14.3% coming on long twos, and 26.2% from long distance. Look at this shot chart:
(Shot charts courtesy of Shot Analytics.)
That is the definition of Iowa playing to their strengths. Mike Gesell and Aaron White attacked the basket off the dribble, Adam Woodbury and Gabe Olaseni (in his limited time off the bench) put in work down low, and Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok drained threes. The shot selection was beautiful in this game - Iowa outscored Maryland 38-18 in the paint - and the offense looked great because of it.
Maryland, meanwhile, looked a lot better in the second half than they did before the break. They shot a measly 28% from the field before the half, but their threes started falling at a more reasonable clip in the second half.
Iowa played a whole lot of zone against the Terps, and it looked good when Maryland was missing shots in the first half. It didn't look quite as good in the second half, though. I thought Iowa did a better job of closing out on threes in the first half, but I thought players like Dez Wells and Melo Trimble were still getting inside a bit too easy. Iowa did their job with most of Maryland, who only finished on 43% of those shots clustered near the rim on the chart. But they did struggle with keeping Trimble and Wells out of the lane, as they both combined for 11 free throws. Technically, Trimble would have had more if it weren't for a camera and an errant finger, but you get my point.
This ended up being a big category for Maryland at the beginning of the game. 13 possessions into this one, the Terps had already turned the ball over 7 times. The first half ended with 34 possessions and Maryland coughed it up on 12 of those. Essentially, the Terrapins gave the ball to Iowa on 1 of every 3 trips down the court in the first 20 minutes. And the Hawkeyes gladly took the ball and came away with 16 points off of those 12 turnovers. When you combine that with their atrocious shooting during that time, you can quickly understand how Maryland was down 23 at the break.
To their credit, though, Maryland gathered themselves after halftime and they only lost the ball 4 times in 30 possessions in the final 20 minutes.
Iowa, on the other hand, struggled with turnovers in both halves. Their 9 turnovers in the first half were overshadowed by Maryland's all-around incompetent play during that time, but Iowa turned it up a notch in the second half and gave the rock away 10 times in 30 trips down the court. This was really Iowa's worst category of the game. They seemed to struggle quite a bit with Maryland's full court press and there were more travels called on Iowa than I've seen in my life.
Overall, though, it's hard to really complain when Iowa won by 16. But if you were wondering how Iowa could shoot 70% from the floor and only average 1.03 PPP in the second half? Look no further. Turnovers are the answer to your question.
Iowa didn't have their best offensive rebounding game of the year, but they didn't do particularly bad either. Especially when we remember that Maryland has been a very good defensive rebounding team this season.
On a positive note, Maryland also lived up to their reputation of being a terrible offensive rebounding team, and only grabbed 8 of their 33 misses. The Terps did outscore the Hawkeyes 7-2 in second chance points, but Iowa only missed 15 shots from the field, so it's not like they really needed many second chance points in this game.
Free Throw Rate
Free throws, like many things in this game, didn't really matter much after halftime. The Hawkeyes won the free throw rate battle in the first half and that was thanks largely to Aaron White's 6 attempts from the stripe. Maryland had a higher free throw rate after halftime, but it still wasn't good enough for them to win the overall category. Both teams finished 12-16 from the line, but Iowa did so on 7 fewer field goal attempts, due mostly to their turnover issues.
Overall: Iowa won 3 of 4 Factors
For the second game in a row, Fran gave the starters a whole lot more minutes than we are accustomed to. All five guys played at least 27 minutes, and the team was much better off because of it. Seriously, this new thing of Fran not messing around much with lineups that aren't useful is a welcomed site.
Moving on to the chart, according to adjusted game score per minute, Adam Woodbury was the most valuable player on the court on Sunday. His adjusted game score per minute of 0.73 was by far the highest number he has put up all season. His next best performances were 0.54 against Texas and North Carolina.
So how did he get such a high adjusted game score? Well, in 28 minutes on the court, Iowa's 7-footer scored 16 points on 6-7 shooting from the field and 4-4 shooting from the line.
Additionally, Woodbury also grabbed 5 rebounds (1 offensive), dished out 2 assists, blocked 1 shot, and took the ball from the Terps once. In total, Woody looked great on both sides of the court in this one. On offense, he displayed good footwork in the post and his hands looked better catching the ball in the pick and roll. On defense, he was a great rim protector and played a part in not allowing Maryland's big men to get anything going.
After Woodbury, the rest of the starters also had great games.
Aaron White started off slow from the field in the first half. He entered the locker room at halftime with 7 points, but most of that was due to his 5-6 shooting from the free throw line. His shot selection was mostly jumpers in the first half, and because of that, he shot only 1-5 from the floor. After halftime, though, White got back to his usual game and started shooting and scoring from down low.
He finished the afternoon with 17 points on 5-11 shooting from the floor and 7-10 shooting from the free throw line. He also threw in 8 rebounds (1 offensive), 2 steals, and 1 assist.
Mike Gesell also had himself another great game. He continued to attack the rim, which has never been much of an issue for him. More importantly, though, he also finished when he got to the rim against Maryland, which has been troublesome for him at times throughout his career. Gesell was always around the basket in this one and he finished on 4 of his 5 field goal attempts when he was in the area.
But while Gesell's 8 points around the basket were great to see, so were his 9 assists. Iowa's starting point guard had himself a heyday setting up his teammates on Sunday, as he was constantly shredding Maryland's defense and finding the open man when the other team collapsed on him. Iowa's ball movement looked the best it has all year against Maryland, and a big part of that was Gesell's doing.
That ball movement was also key when it came to finding open shooters. The Hawkeyes definitely had things going down low against Maryland, but we also shouldn't forget Iowa's three point shooting, as Peter Jok and Jarrod Uthoff provided exactly what Iowa needed from them from outside against the Terps.
I combined both guys' shot charts just to show the impact they both had on the offense for Iowa. The rest of Iowa's guys were busy attacking the rim and scoring down low, but Uthoff and Jok were sitting and waiting out on the perimeter, ready to punish Maryland's defense when they collapsed everyone into the paint. Jok finished the game with 15 points and Uthoff only had 8 points, but both combined to go 5-7 from long range for the Hawkeyes. Iowa's shot selection was great in this game, and if Jok and Uthoff can continue to give the Hawkeyes some legitimate three point threats, this could be a very good team down the stretch.
And, lastly, I should mention that Gabe Olaseni looked damn good in just 12 minutes on the court. He actually had the second highest adjusted game score per minute for Iowa with 0.54. He scored 7 points in his little playing time, making all 4 field goal attempts and his only free throw try. He also grabbed 4 rebounds (1 offensive) in just his little stint on the court. I would have loved to see him play more, but it's hard to argue with what Woodbury was giving Iowa and it probably didn't hurt to rest Gabe considering he had an injury recently.
To the bullet points!
- All I really have to say about the Adam Woodbury eye-poke thing, was I thought this one was an accident. The Wisconsin one against Kaminsky looked intentional to me, but I felt this one looked accidental.
- Thanks to the dominant first half, Maryland is only the second opponent that Iowa's defense has held under 1 PPP in Big Ten play. The only other team Iowa has done that to this season was Nebraska.
- Iowa has moved up from #45 to #27 in Kenpom's rankings with back-to-back double figure wins. Their best remaining opponents are #46 Minnesota and #50 Indiana. Iowa gets the Gophers at home, but has to travel to Bloomington to face the Hoosiers. Of the remaining 8 games, Indiana is the only one in which the Hawks are not favored by Kenpom. With the last two wins, Iowa has found themselves in a great position to finish this season exactly the opposite of the way they finished last season.
- Aaron White had 2 dunks against Maryland, moving his season total to 39 and his dunk streak to 11. Here is the updated chart:
|Aaron White Dunk-O-Meter||Freshman||Sophomore||Junior||Senior||Career|
|Field Goals Made||136||140||143||102||521|
And that's about all there is to say about this win. Iowa dominated a good opponent and picked up a signature win for their tournament run. That three-game losing streak doesn't look or feel so bad now, and Iowa has set themselves up to finish the season strong.