Apparently nothing cures the Northwestern blues like a game against Rutgers because this was never a competitive game. Rutgers never held a lead for the entire 40 minutes of play, and the last time the Scarlet Knights would be anywhere near Iowa on the scoreboard was when the game was tied at 5 with 17:46 left in the first half. Iowa's lead just continued to grow as the game wore on, as the Hawkeyes were up 26-11 at the 10:00 mark, they led 42-24 at halftime, and they ended up winning the game by 34.
Really, not much went wrong for Iowa in this one.
Four Factors in Review
First Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.28, Rutgers 0.73
First Half Possessions: 33
Second Half Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.05, Rutgers 0.62
Second Half Possessions: 37
Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.16, Rutgers 0.67
Iowa came into this game as the third best offense in the conference, once you adjust for strength of schedule, while Rutgers' offense was dead last. Needless to say, both teams lived up to those rankings in this game.
|2pt Near Rim
Iowa's offense looked much better against Rutgers' defense than they did against Northwestern's on Sunday. Not only did they get the ball into the painted area on almost half of their shot attempts, but they also made 57% of their attempts near the rim. Iowa's large trio of Aaron White, Gabe Olaseni, and Adam Woodbury combined to go 9-15 on field goal attempts near the rim. And that total would be even higher if we counted the 14 free throw attempts they earned by getting the ball inside and drawing fouls.
But the shots weren't just falling for Iowa on the inside, they were falling from the outside too. The Hawkeyes connected on almost 43% of their long twos and Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok were a combined 5-9 from three point range, helping Iowa shoot 47% from beyond the arc as a team. This was as complete an effort as we've seen all year long.
As for Rutgers' offense... well, yeah... you see...
|2pt Near Rim
The positive? Rutgers was actually hitting their two point jumpers against Iowa. The negative? Rutgers only took 10 two point jump shots on the night, and they went 11-23 near the basket and just 5-22 from downtown. Iowa's defense did a great job of forcing the Scarlet Knights into giving the ball away, but Rutgers had a lot of open looks they just couldn't make fall. Not only did they miss some open shots from long range, but they also missed some pretty decent opportunities at the rim. It was really a pathetic offensive showing by the Scarlet Knights.
I'm glad Iowa was able to hold Rutgers to just 0.68 points per possession (PPP) on the night, but let's not act like this defense doesn't still have some issues. Rutgers is just that terrible on the offensive side of the ball.
At 70 possessions, this was easily the fastest game Iowa has played since the conference schedule started, and turnovers had a lot to do with that. Not only did Rutgers cough the ball up 19 times (on 27% of their possessions), but 13 of those were forced steals by Iowa. The Hawkeyes' pressure defense created havoc on a Rutgers offense that looked lost at times, and the Iowa offense capitalized by outscoring Rutgers 20-6 on points off of turnovers. And even though Rutgers had a similar amount of offensive rebounds, the turnover margin was tilted so heavily in Iowa's favor that the Hawkeyes finished the game with 8 more scoring opportunities (including free throw possessions) thanks to all the empty possessions that Rutgers had.
Iowa had some empty possessions in the second half due to turnovers, but the game was basically over by then, so it didn't end up mattering.
This category was a battle of strengths when Iowa had the ball (Iowa's offensive rebounding vs. Rutgers defensive rebounding) and weaknesses when Rutgers had the ball (Rutgers' offensive rebounding vs. Iowa's defensive rebounding). Iowa won this category ever-so-slightly, but Rutgers held the Hawks under their season average offensive rebounding rate while Iowa's defensive rebounding woes were masked by a terrible Rutgers' offensive rebounding attack.
Neither team was particularly stellar on the offensive glass and Rutgers barely outscored Iowa on second chance opportunities, 8-6. Really, though, this category didn't play much of a part in this game. Shooting and turnovers were the main deal-sealers for this Hawkeye victory.
Free Throw Rate
Iowa attempted 22 free throws on the night, and, like I mentioned above, 14 of those were due to Iowa's three main big men going to work in the post on a consistent basis. The Hawkeyes' shooting left a lot to be desired once they got to the line against Rutgers, though, as they only made 13 of their 22 attempts (59%). However, the Scarlet Knights visited the line 13 times and only connected on 6 of their free ones (46%), so I guess I'll take Iowa's performance if I had to choose.
Overall, this category didn't really end up mattering, but Iowa won it so woo!
Overall: Iowa won all 4 Factors
This was a weird game because, not only did Iowa empty their bench due to being up by so much, but Eddie Jordan also decided to empty his bench because he was unhappy with the play of his starters. Well, he was most likely unhappy with everyone but Myles Mack, who he probably wanted to just give half the game off because he was averaging 36 minutes a game coming into this contest. But, outside of Mack, most of the rest of the starters gave Rutgers very little in the way of performance, and that goes double for the usually-reliable Kadeem Jack. In 15 minutes on the floor, Jack scored just 2 points on 1-7 shooting, and tallied up 3 rebounds (2 offensive) and 2 turnovers. Mack played a nice game, but Rutgers wasn't going to beat Iowa without getting offensive production from Jack as well.
As for Iowa, Uthoff was the star of the show for the second game in a row. The Hawkeyes' "small" forward scored 14 points on 5-9 shooting from the field, and hit 2 of his 4 attempts from downtown. He also gave Iowa 3 rebounds (all defensive), 2 assists, 1 dunk, 1 block, and 4 steals. And he did all of this in just 25 minutes.
After Uthoff, Aaron White gave the Hawkeyes 13 points on 4-7 shooting from the floor and 5-6 shooting from the line. He also threw in 8 rebounds (1 offensive), 3 assists, and threw down 3 of Iowa's 7 dunks on the night. He still has a dunk in every Big Ten game this season, and his dunk streak is now at 14 games.
|Aaron White Dunk-O-Meter
|Field Goals Made
White did still try to be a little too cute at times in an attempt to draw the foul, but he didn't seem to get flustered the way he has in past games. So that was nice to see.
Peter Jok continued to shoot the ball well from outside, as he connected on 3-5 from out there en route to 11 points in just 19 minutes of play. He is now shooting 37.3% from three point range on the season, and that's largely thanks to the 41.5% he's shot from out there in Big Ten play. It's great to see him starting to develop into a real offensive threat.
Gabe Olaseni had a big game in 22 minutes off the bench. Going 4-8 from the field and 4-6 from the line, Olaseni scored 12 points, grabbed 6 rebounds (3 offensive), blocked 1 shot, and even finished a nice lob from Josh Oglesby that was a little reminiscent of the pick and roll they ran at Wisconsin last year. Overall, Gabe looked really comfortable out on the floor against Rutgers' small front line. Every time he caught the ball in the post he was immediately looking to score, and he usually did. Rutgers had no answer for Iowa's athletic big man.
Finally, Adam Woodbury didn't score double-digit points, but he had the second highest adjusted game score per minute for Iowa in just 13 minutes on the floor. The highlight of his night was the fact that he threw down not just 1, but 2 dunks on Rutgers' defense. In total, he scored 7 points by way of those two dunks, knocking down a mid-range jumper, and by sinking 1 of his 2 free throw attempts. Iowa's 7-footer also pulled down 2 offensive rebounds, came away with 1 steal on defense, and just had a nice game in limited action. But the bright spot was the aggressiveness he showed when attacking the basket on his 2 dunks. Hopefully we see more of that going forward.
Overall, just about everyone who played meaningful minutes for Iowa in this one had a good game. Anthony Clemmons had a 7:1 assist to turnover ratio and 3 steals coming off the bench. Dom Uhl also came off the proverbial pine to score 9 points and haul in 6 rebounds (2 offensive). In general, it was a good night for the Hawkeyes, where very little went wrong.
No bullet points after this one. Iowa was favored by double-figures and that's what they won by. Next up is a rematch with Nebraska in Lincoln. The Huskers are like the Scarlet Knights in one manner because their offense is really awful this season. However, they are unlike Rutgers because their defense has been reall damn good this season. Let's hope Iowa can escape Pinnacle Bank Arena with a win on Sunday.