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Iowa rides winning streak into non-conference finale

The Hawkeyes finish non-conference play with Northern Illinois.

NCAA Basketball: Colorado at Iowa
Iowa Hawkeyes forward Cordell Pemsl (35) looks to pass against Colorado Buffaloes guard Dominique Collier (15) and forward Lucas Siewert (23) at Sanford Pentagon.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes needed a big second-half performance to escape with a win against Colorado, 80-73, and deliver its fourth straight win — a necessary win as the Hawkeyes have one non-conference game before Big Ten play resumes.

The Hawkeyes’ bench played a significant factor in the win with Cordell Pemsl and Maishe Dailey each scoring in double digits. Despite the Hawkeyes only shooting 3-for-15 from beyond the arc, Dailey gave Iowa the lead with a three-pointer with 10:35 to go in the game — one of two he had in the game. The three sparked an 8-0 run for Iowa to take a definitive lead.

Dailey finished with a career-high 16 points, which tied a team-high with Isaiah Moss, while Pemsl had a near double-double as he finished with 10 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.

Iowa’s 20.0 percent from three-point range was the lowest mark for the Hawkeyes all season.

"Whenever you have a lead, give it up, get it back, give it up again, you have to fight through it," Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery told "It wasn't an easy game. This is a good team. We were making mistakes; we had to overcome and correct them as the game was going on and execute. We had some guys individually who weren't playing well early but were playing well late. That was good to see."

One of the top rebounding teams in the conference, Iowa outrebounded Colorado 43-31 to help ease the pain of 19 turnovers. Its 41.9 rebounds per game rank fourth in the conference, while they average 14.3 turnovers per contest, fourth-worst in the conference.

"We got a lot of key rebounds when we needed them," McCaffery said. "It was important we have a rebounding advantage. Especially when you look at stats, we have 19 turnovers; usually, you don't win. If you have a rebounding advantage, get to FT line, get to double bonus, then you can overcome (the turnovers).”

In all, five Hawkeyes reached double digits with Jordan Bohannon scoring 14 with six rebounds — his eighth affair with at least 10 points. Tyler Cook, the team’s leader in scoring, added 12 points to accompany Dailey, Moss, and Bohannon.

Iowa will carry its four-game win streak into the final non-conference game against Northern Illinois on Dec. 29. Despite the Hawkeyes struggling early in the season, the young squad still has hope to finish middle of the pack in the Big Ten and possibly play spoiler if they continue to grow. Iowa hosts Michigan and Ohio State to begin 2018, which will be key matchups at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Barring any upsets on both sides, Michigan and Iowa will head into its matchup each with five-game win streaks.

As the conference schedule nears, Iowa will have several crucial home games as they also host Michigan State, Minnesota and Purdue down the road, which could prove to be key spoiler opportunities in the Big Ten.