IOWA CITY– The outside shots were falling, the defense stepped up in the second half, the inside game was clicking and the Hawks took care of the ball…oh yeah and Matt Gatens was the man.
That all added up to Iowa’s 4th win of the season, 71-67 over instate rival Drake.
This could be the most complete game of the Hawkeyes season against a pretty good team that had won three straight.
We’ll do a little good, bad and ugly on the game last Saturday.
The Good- You have to start with Matt Gatens. The 6-5, 225 pound sophomore carried the Hawks hitting big shots, playing great defense and making free throws when the game was on the line.
Matt has to be one of the best conditioned athletes in the country as he played all 40 minutes in two of the last three games .
He averages 36.4 minutes per game, leads the team in scoring (12.8) and is shooting a team high 86% from the free throw line.
Matt led the Hawks with 18 points, including two free throws with 12 seconds left to ice the game.
He also led the team with nine boards and five assists.
Anthony Tucker also had a good game with 17 points and three assists and one of the best stats of the night…neither Matt or Anthony had a turnover.
When two of your top ball handlers take care of the ball that makes the coach happy.
It was good to see Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter back on the sideline. He had missed the last three games after major surgery and even though he’s not 100%, he runs the show and the Hawks seemed to respond.
It was also good to see the defense step up and take away Drake’s 3-point shooting. The Bulldogs were 9-17 from behind the arc in the first half, 2-11 in the second.
“We played a lot tougher,” said Eric May on Iowa’s defense after halftime. “We stayed on our guys when we knew we had to switch. Our guys were getting up in their face and getting tough. I think we played a lot better.”
Eric finished with 13 points, including 7-10 from the charity stripe, coming off the bench.
Aaron Fuller brought some good energy off the bench, especially when Jarryd Cole got into foul trouble. He only scored four points but grabbed four rebounds and gave the Hawks an inside game.
16 assists and only eight turnovers is what the coach preaches plus Iowa won the board battle 35-28.
The Bad- The Hawkeyes didn’t do a very good job of defense on the long ball in the first half. They were doubling down low which played into Drake’s game. The Bulldogs lit it up in the first half but cooled off in the second.
Iowa’s low post defense struggled some of the game. They did a better job in the second half.
The Ugly- For the season Iowa is shooting 67% from the free throw line and they have some shooters but 13-23 is not going to work in the Big Ten.
Cully Payne and Jarryd were 0-2 and Anthony was 2-5. Those are two of Iowa’s better shooters and they will get better.
“I enjoyed my return,” said Coach Lickliter. “We got contributions from a lot of guys. We led by 10 and they cut the lead to two and our guys remained poised. It wasn’t perfect but they were able to make plays and down the stretch we were able to make free throws. I think it’s something to build on. It’s probably one of the better games we’ve played especially after finals week.”
It’s only one win but a good one.
Then the bottom falls out later that night.
I can’t believe Anthony Tucker, who was given a second chance after flunking out last spring.
He goes out and gets picked up for public intox after Iowa beat Drake and now it looks like his future is in question.