I'll be honest, I didn't know one single iota about Coppin State. As much as I tried before the opening tip, I just couldn't jog a single anecdote about the ol' Eagles. So like any curious twenty-something, I flipped open Google, typed in their name and by the time I found out that their campus is in Baltimore and that they are KenPom's 340th ranked team, Iowa was already up 22-2 with nearly fourteen minutes remaining in the game.
Woof. Probably won't be concerning myself with that group again.
For Iowa, it was an offensive explosion. Eleven players checked into the game in the first half and eight of them scored. Brady Ellingson (not Jarrod Uthoff) was the leading scorer going into halftime with 10-points with Uthoff and Dom Uhl -- who got the start tonight with Peter Jok still injured -- adding in nine a piece.
Much was the same in the second period. It got so bad that the Hawkeyes weren't even running an offense anymore -- matching the Eagles entire game plan. They played a weird half YMCA game, half three point contest. And they weren't that good at either. I've seen some pick-up teams that could've shot a high enough percentage from three to keep up with this Coppin State team tonight.
But Iowa took advantage as they should have and went for the throat EARLY to make this a contest only in the sense that it was on the schedule. Fran emptied his entire bench in the second half. The Hawks scored over 100 points for the first time since 2013. And everything else was as they say, gravy.
Blow out or not, it was super encouraging to watch Fran's diaper dandies, led by Dom Uhl who finished with 18 points -- finishing 3-5 from long distance. Brady Ellingson -- who uses screens with Kyle Korver like perfection -- finished with 20 points and was nearly perfect from the field. And my boy Ahmad Wagner was an athletic freak once again, forcing his will on the glass, on defense, in the post, as a screener... you get the idea.
Quick aside on Wagner: He's easily Iowa's most athletic player on the roster. He has great hands, perfect timing on those quick rebound jumps and uses his lower body to his distinct advantage. He's also the perfect screener in half-court P&R's.
Check out this play from early on in the second half:
Patience, quickness and power. Let the #HeadBand live Fran!
As far as the main staples go, Uthoff scored 13 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots. He didn't get to the line at all, but he didn't really need to. I love that Fran once again started the game using Uthoff as a screener to free Clemmons for a hopeful lay-up, only to then send him off a quick curl screen by Woodbury for a clear view at the basket (which he buried but was waived off):
Get that fadeaway going early.
Adam Woodbury had two points, five rebounds and three fouls on Sunday afternoon. He was featured maybe a handful of times (which I find strange... what better time than Coppin State to get Woodbury some early touches and some easy baskets?) but he did have this beautiful pass to Mike Gesell:
Woody is a sneaky good passer and I'd like to see some more of these type sets that allow him to be a creator early on in games. Let's face it, the 30-36 minutes thing isn't happening, but Woodbury will need to start becoming more involved with this offense at some point. Plays like this, where he can display his passing ability to cutters get him involved and keep him emotionally invested.
Lest I forget, Mr. Gesell... ever since he proposed on Monday to his now fiancé, he can't stop dropping dimes. He finished the game with five points, two steals, four rebounds and 12 assists. This coming two days after assisting on nine buckets against Gardner Webb. He may not be scoring in bunches like some may have expected, but he is pushing this offense so well right now -- something I'm absolutely delighted in seeing after his slow start last season.
As a whole, Iowa shot 55.6% from the field, 42.9% from three and 55% from the free throw line -- which surely needs to get better-- while dropping the proverbial cherry on top of the university's sports sundae that took place this weekend. While it wasn't the best opponent, this offense is clicking heading into their matchup with Marquette on Thursday and Fran McCaffery may have his deepest lineup to date at his disposal.
Play the dang polka, Iowa City.