It was a very light slate for the Big Ten on Monday night, with the struggling Iowa Hawkeyes being the only team to play. This team needed the win and they needed to win big, less for any late season implications and more just to get back on track.
The Hawkeyes snapped a four game losing streak last night against the Stetson Hatters and here’s a look at how the game unfolded.
Game of the Night:
Iowa Hawkeyes 95, Stetson Hatters 68
This game was never really in question at all. The Hawkeyes did a great job against a lesser opponent of jumping on top early and not letting their foot off the gas pedal. So often we see that if you let a team like Stetson hang around, they gain confidence and then the later you let them hang around, who knows what could happen?
Last night, the Hawkeyes did a great job of getting things going offensively without really having a breakout performance from the only true star on this team, senior guard Peter Jok. He scored a respectable 15 points, but he was only 4-13 from the field and just 1-7 from beyond the three point line. He did contribute in other ways, however, with 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Having said that, if Iowa wants to compete against better competition, Jok is going to have to be the main offensive weapon.
The young Hawkeyes got a huge contribution from their freshman big man Cordell Pemsl as he continued his ultra efficient freshman season. The Big Ten field goal percentage leader had one of his best games of the year, going off for 21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. He went 9-11 from the field.
Some points of concern for the Hawkeyes going forward will be in two major areas: three point shooting and the free throw line. While the Hawkeyes shoot a fairly good 36.8% from three point line as a team, they went only 6-23 from beyond the line last night. Perhaps you can chalk that up to simply an off night, especially with Jok finishing 1-7 from three. However, on the season, the Hawkeyes shoot just over 69% from the free throw line, good for 174th nationally. Last night, they went 17-28 from the charity stripe, leaving them with a 60.7% effort. Free throw shooting is a crucial part of finishing close games, something that this young Hawkeyes team will have to learn.
This Iowa team has potential, and last night might serve as a confidence building block for the rest of the season.