Saturday, December 11, 2004
Iowa 70, Iowa State 63
Iowa wins the state championship! I get the feeling that Iowa residents were satisfied with the 1-2-3 finish of Iowa, UNI, and Iowa State, since that mirrors the number of Iowa players on each team. The Hawks have 8 on their roster, while UNI has 7 and Iowa State just 3 (Drake has 5, but I don't know many Iowans who align their rooting interest with the Bulldogs' fortunes). By the way, my apologies for taking forever to get this post up. I spent as much time at my final on Friday as I did in bed in the night before, and after the mandatory post-game trip to Old Chicago, sleep was the only thing on my mind.
Everyone is no doubt aware that this was Adam Haluska's first game against the team that he transferred away from after Larry Eustachy resigned from his coaching duties. He played very well last night, even earning Hawkeye Hoops Player of the Game, but I don't want to parrot everything that's already been said by the Quad City Times and Des Moines Register, or even the AP's Chuck Schoffner. Suffice it to say that Haluska was the offensive bright spot in a game that featured a lot of tough defense and missed shots.
- Iowa and Iowa State combined to miss 77 shots and shoot 37% for the game. Some of the main miss-the-marksmen were: Pierre Pierce, 6-18, Curtis Stinson, 5-15, Will Blalock, 7-19, and somewhat surprisingly, Greg Brunner, 3-11.
- Iowa came into the game shooting 44% on their threes, but only managed to shoot 4-17 last night, with all four makes coming from Haluska.
- Iowa's interior defense gave up another big game, albeit to a very talented Jared Homan, recently rated as the best center in the country by CBS SportsLine (for what that's worth). Homan finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Also recall UNI's Eric Coleman's 16 and 11, Drake's Aliou Keita's 23 and 7, and Centenary's Chad Maclies's 21 and 6, among others.
- Erek Hansen made a big contribution on defense with a career high 7 blocks. In addition to that, he changed the directions of a lot of those driving shots from Stinson and Blalock. He should make a good run at Acie Earl's team record for blocks in a season, despite only averaging 23.5 mpg. Everyone talks about Hansen having such a "breakout" year, but I can only agree with that on the offensive end. His pts / 40 min is more than double last year's rate, but his blk / 40 min is about the same and his reb / 40 min has actually dropped, from 7.3 to 5.1.
- Iowa State relied on three players - Stinson, Blalock, and Homan - for the bulk of their scoring. The trio took 82% of ISU's shots and scored 86% of its points. Luckily for Iowa, ISU only had two of those options down the stretch, as Stinson fouled out with about 8 minutes left and only played 28 minutes total.
- Alford was talking on the radio about how he got after Brunner for only leading Jeff Horner by one for the team's season rebound lead. Brunner looked like he was out to prove himself last night, getting to all kinds of caroms and leading all players with 13 rebounds. One unrelated request, Greg: I know parking is impossible in Iowa City, but can you back your car up a little? It's partially blocking our driveway.
- Well, I was disappointed that Carver-Hawkeye wasn't sold out for what's typically the biggest home game of the year, at least in the non-conference schedule (although it was just a couple hundred short), but it was nice to see some students distibuted sheets with chants for the student section to use during the game. The "Thanks for Adam" chant got mentioned in at least a couple newspaper articles.
- Two indications of which sport reigns supreme in this city - (1) the loudest the crowd got all night was for the halftime introduction of head football coach Kirk Ferentz, in recognition of his leading the team to another New Year's Day bowl game. (By the way, do we have to constantly refer to the team as Big Ten champs? Isn't the Big Ten champ going to the Rose Bowl? I seem to remember a certain 30-17 thumping in Ann Arbor a while back. Just curious; I don't really follow football.) (2) After the "Thanks for Adam" chant, the most popular was "Let's kick field goals," a jab at Iowa State's special teams ineptitude that cost them a berth in the Big XII title game.