Friday, November 19, 2004
Iowa 85, Western Illinois 62
There was a lot to like in Iowa's victory tonight. Number one in my book is the performance from the free throw line. The Hawks set a school record for most FT attempts without a miss by going 20-20. Given the team's woes at the line from Alford-coached teams and throughout the exhibition season, this was a nice surprise.
Iowa had a well-balanced scoring attack with six players hitting double figures in points. Pierre Pierce again led the way with 16, although I'll be the last to compliment him on his performance. He certainly lived up to his inclusion on the Big Ten Wonk's All Head Case Team, coughing the ball up five times and unnecessarily forcing a lot of drives and shots. I say unnecessary because he too often feels like he needs to take on the three or four defenders while other scoring options wait for the ball. He ended the night shooting 6-15.
Oh right, I was talking about how there was a lot to like tonight. Hawk fans were no doubt excited to see Adam Haluska play his share of minutes and contribute 14 points in his much-heralded debut. He scored his first Hawkeye point on a free throw and later added two three-pointers. The other double figure scorers were Erek Hansen, Greg Brunner, Doug Thomas, and Jeff Horner.
- The Beast (some call him Doug Thomas) had a monster game. He opened up with one of the most vicious dunks I have ever seen. He came up with a loose ball in the frontcourt, and looked to be sealed by two WIU defenders. He looked in the direction of a teammate, as if to pass, then put the ball on the floor, slicing through the WIU players and brutally attacked the unsuspecting basket. I swear his shoes almost rose up to the bottom of the backboard. For an encore, the Beast threw home two more alley-oop dunks. He finished the game 4-4 from the field and 6-6 from the line to score 14, and grabbed 9 rebounds in 21 minutes. How many more dominant games before he starts? I might not know the inner-workings of roster construction, but my intuition tells me that you start your five best players. The Beast has clearly outplayed Hansen up to this point. I'm all for increasing Doug's playing time.
- Hansen was decent, but I can't help but expect more than 2 rebounds from a 6'11" player. His highlight: he caught a pass at the top of the key, noticed he was unchallenged, and calmly knocked down the trey. Hansen scored 13 (including 4-4 at the stripe) and picked up a couple blocks.
- The fans around me seemed really eager for Haluska to get off to a good start, and I think most fans felt the same way. His conditioning might be a little behind due to his injury (he was breathing a lot harder than the other guys at the first TV timeout), but Adam showed glimpses of the talent we all hope he'll showcase. He was very active without the ball and his jumpshot looked smooth. He was able to put the ball on the floor on a few occasions and get past his defender. One deficiency I noticed: he seemed like he lost the guy he was guarding at least a couple times.
- Jeff Horner is a guy Iowans have no trouble cheering. He's an in-stater (Mason City, where he took the torch from former Hawk PG Dean Oliver), has a nice jumper, is unselfish, and busts ass. The guy was all over the court tonight picking up loose balls and tallied 7 steals tonight. He also found open teammates to the tune of 6 assists and contributed 10 points of his own.
- Greg Brunner, another in-state guy, played well again. He scored twice early, and finished with 10 points and 4 rebounds.
- This was the first game where Carlton Reed had little impact. In fact, he only played 8 minutes. Hard to put up big numbers in that time.
- One surprise tonight: Iowa was outrebounded 32-31. Hmmm, time to start a center who can rebound? I'll probably keep hinting at this until it actually happens.
Thanks Goose! I'm pretty busy from here until finals are over, but I'll try to keep things updated here.Post a Comment