Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Iowa 91, Drake 75
Iowa's offensive onslaught continued Tuesday night with a 91-75 win against the Drake Bulldogs. Iowa shot 54% from the field and 79% from the line in a game where they had 52 points by halftime. There were some good things to take away from the game, but some concerns remain to be answered.
Starting center Erek Hansen did not play at all, apparently due to a sore hip, and the resulting lack of interior depth hurt Iowa all night. Drake's Aliou Keita took advantage inside, especially in the first half. He shot 11-17 for 23 points. He also grabbed 7 rebounds and blocked 5 Iowa shots. Unfortunately for Drake fans, Keita's teammates only shot 35%.
Doug Thomas started in place of Hansen, but after a couple quick fouls he went to the bench, where he would spend most of the game. Thomas only played 9 minutes, making an already thin frontline even weaker. I have yet to hear/read why Thomas played so little. Freshman Alex Thompson saw 13 minutes and even scored the first 4 points of his young career, but Iowa mostly compensated for the lack of big bodies by playing with an undersized lineup. Adam Haluska played plenty of minutes at the 4 in lineups that generally included 3 or 4 guards.
Aside from the interior defense, Iowa's main weakness was handling Drake's fullcourt press. The Bulldogs racked up 13 steals en route to forcing 19 Iowa turnovers. It was frustrating watching Iowa's passes repeatedly get deflected or seeing players not moving to meet a pass. It was easy to write off the performance against North Carolina's press because they were probably a team superior to those Iowa will play in the Big Ten, but tonight shows that the Hawkeyes need to work on breaking the press.
- Haluska led all Hawkeyes with 38 minutes, as his size was needed down low to keep Seth Gorney on the bench. Adam turned in another fine performance, scoring 21 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. He continues to get a lot of his points from the free throw line: 9-10 tonight, 11-13 against UNC, and 7-9 against Louisville. Watch out all you Haluska doubters (and there were plenty after the 2 pt game against Texas) - he's got 40 points in the last two games and is averaging 14 ppg on the season.
- Jeff Horner picked up right where he left off in Maui. He drained his first three 3-pointers (although he would miss his last 5) on his way to a 21 point game. He also chipped in with 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Ho hum, just another day at the office. His 6-8 shooting at the free throw line has me scratching my head, but oh well, I'll trade a few missed free throws for unconsciousness from downtown.
- Speaking of free throws, Iowa hit 23 of 29 of their freebies (79%). That was their best night at the line since shooting 20-20 in the season opener against Western Illinois. Amazing what happens when you limit Pierre Pierce's attempts. Pierce went 0-2 to drop his season FT% to 41%.
- Pierce scored a quiet 15 points. It was probably quiet to me since he scored most of his points in what was (to me) one of the most boring second halves ever. Timeouts galore and repeated fouling when down 15 with a minute to go just isn't my brand of basketball. And before I forget, Pierce had 8 turnovers. Eight TO! I could maybe see a point guard going up against an elite defense with 8 turnovers, but 8 from an off-guard against Drake?
- Once Iowa committed to the smaller lineup, Carlton Reed got into the game and saw a season-high 23 minutes of action. He once again took advantage, this time by dropping 14 points. His specialty is the 3-pointer, and he made 2-4 tonight, including a long desperation heave to beat the first half play clock.