Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Iowa 83, Texas Tech 53
If I've learned anything recently, it's that I'm wrong a lot more often than I like to be. To recap -
I was wrong in suggesting Texas Tech would score a lot and have few turnovers last night.
I was wrong in expecting Jeff Horner to be able to carry this team every night.
I was wrong in picking Adam Haluska to have a big game against Western Carolina.
I was wrong in suggesting, early in the season, that Doug Thomas should steal some of Erek Hansen's playing time.
All minor mistakes, mind you, and if you grant me the last one, all quite reasonable.
Texas Tech came into the game as one of the country's highest scoring teams, most efficient offenses, and turned the ball over as little as anyone. I was as surprised as anyone that Tech could only muster 53 points while gift-wrapping the ball 21 times against an Iowa defense that has been less than stellar.
Horner has played exceptionally against every quality team Iowa has played this year, as well as most of the rest. He repeatedly produces a pretty stat line and is exciting to watch. He finally had an off night last night, shooting 3-14 and 1-6 from the outside. Coach Alford commented (in QC Times) on the matter.
“A year ago, when Jeff starts slow like that, we struggle as a team,” AlfordGuys like. . . . .
said. “This year, other guys can pick us up and that makes a big difference."
Adam Haluska let me down with an average performance against Western Carolina, but he was huge against Texas Tech. For starters, he scored 21 points by shooting 7-9 FG, 3-3 3FG, and he had 6 rebounds and 2 steals, all in only 22 minutes. The rest of the team was not so pretty - without Haluska's numbers, Iowa shot 40.7 FG%, 15.4 3P%, and 60.0 FT%. The best part of the night for me was Adam's one minute rampage in the first half. In the style of one of my primary blogging influences, I'll let the game log speak for itself.
17:23 Adam Haluska defensive rebound
17:11 Greg Brunner misses two point layup
17:11 Adam Haluska offensive rebound
17:06 Adam Haluska made two point jumper
16:57 Curtis Marshall missed two point jumper
16:57 Adam Haluska defensive rebound
16:44 Adam Haluska made three point jumper
16:20 Adam Haluska made two point layup
16:20 Foul on Jarrius Jackson
16:20 Adam Haluska made free throw
For a one minute stretch in the game, Haluska was responsible for all eight points scored. The first was a little runner that he banked in. He came down on the next possession and hit the three, and came up with a steal and a three-point play on the Jackson foul after that. He also added another three pointer about two minutes after the eight point run. Iowa fans are no doubt excited about the continued emergence of yet another scoring threat to place alongside Horner, Pierre Pierce, and Greg Brunner.
Besides Horner and Haluska, no one else really stood out. Hansen didn't allow anything easy inside and swatted six shots, which is far from abnormal, but he did tie a season-high with 6 rebounds. His career high is 7, from last year's Northwestern game. Pierce had his standard 6-14 shooting night, complete with four turnovers and three missed free throws in six attempts. Brunner continues to grab anything near him, with 8 rebounds in only 22 minutes. Doug Thomas still seems out of sync with the rest of the team, but he did add 6 points and 6 rebounds in just 14 minutes, including a mid-range jumper that he seems to hit consistently. I'm hoping the winter break gives him enough time away from school to concentrate on basketball and start to gel with his teammates. Alex Thompson continues to look better every time he hits the floor. He had 4 points and 5 rebounds in only 11 minutes. He also knocked down a mid-range shot. I'm almost ready to pull a 180 and advocate Thompson taking some of Thunder Doug's minutes. Almost.
- Was anyone else really entertained by the cameras focused on Tech coach Bobby Knight? I usually get irritated if the cameras are directed anywhere besides the game, but some of his scowls, befuddled stares, and head-buried-in-his-hands poses were enough to get a laugh out of me.
- I went to high school a mere 18 miles from Brunner's hometown of Charles City, IA, and the proximity of our schools created a definite rivalry. A friend that I watched the game with, also from my area, has never warmed to seeing Brunner in his favored black and old gold. Upon seeing Greg's dunk last night, he remarked, "Learn a new dunk already. . . that's the same one he's been using since high school!"
- Many of you saw Gregg Doyel's column yesterday that compared the Illinois and Iowa backcourts. The Big Ten Wonk has an excellent follow-up, in which he examines the debate with the scrutinous eye of a blogger. Highly recommended.