This is a busy time of year for Hawkeye fans as there was men’s and women’s basketball at Carver-Hawkeye Arena last weekend and the NCAA wrestling championship in Des Moines.
The Hawkeye men got to host two games last week at Carver for the opening round of the NIT and they won them both.
Last Wednesday they knocked off Indiana State, 68-52, and on Friday, Iowa beat Stony Brook, 75-63.
Iowa got off to a slow start despite a sold-out crowd (the fifth sellout of the year) against Indiana State. The Hawks turned the ball over eight times in the first half, made only 7-13 from the free throw line (they missed the front end of a one-and-one twice) and they hit only 2-8 from 3-point range but led 31-30 at half.
Tough defense, running the court and Devyn Marble, who had 10 at halftime, helped.
Greg Lansing, who was an assistant coach at Iowa for seven years and is now coaching at Indiana State, had the Sycamores ready and they played tough in the first half.
Iowa’s size, depth and good athletes wore them down after halftime.
I also thought the half quarter trap press in the second half took the Sycamores out of sync and helped force 16 turnovers for the game. Zach McCabe hit two 3-pointers after halftime that broke the game open and gave Iowa its 22nd win.
Devyn finished with 24 points, six assists, five boards, four steals and only one turnover in 34 minutes. Aaron White had a solid game with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Mike Gesell started and played 14 minutes but he was limited because of his sore foot.
The second game against Stony Brook was a lot like the first game.
Carver Hawkeye was sold out (the sixth time this season), Devyn Marble led the Hawks with 28, Stony Brook played well until the second half (Iowa led 37-34 at half) and the Hawkeyes’ bench was the difference.
Devyn added five assists and only one turnover in 35 minutes. He has stepped up his game and is carrying the team.
Devyn had plenty of help with Aaron White scoring 13 with seven rebounds.
How about Iowa’s bench scoring 22 points and grabbing nine boards?
Mike Gesell didn’t start but played 19 minutes scoring 5, with three assists and no turnovers.
Zach McCabe once again hit a couple of big threes and Gabe Olaseni made some big plays in crunch time.
“They have a Big Ten team,” said coach Fran McCaffery. “By that I mean they have size, they have quickness, they have multiple people that handle the ball and they have 3-point shooters. Anything less than we had defensively and we don’t beat this team.”
That’s 18 wins at home this season which is a school record.
The Iowa women picked up a 69-53 win over a good Miami team Sunday at Carver.
By the time you read this, the Hawkeyes will have played No. 1 seeded Notre Dame Tuesday night… can an upset be possible?
To say the Miami Hurricanes game was physical would be an understatement.
I can’t believe Iowa trailed the ‘Canes only 28-27 at half.
The Hawks were out-rebounded 32-17 in the first half and Melissa Dixon was in foul trouble and didn’t score one point.
Thank goodness Samantha Logic was 5-8 from the floor and had 13 first half points.
In the second half, the Hawkeye offense exploded.
There is a reason Melissa Dixon was voted the Sixth Player of the Year in the Big Ten… she’s pretty good!
In the second half, Iowa trailed 34-27 with 18 minutes left in the game.
Melissa drilled two straight 3-pointers, the lead was cut to one and the Iowa offense went to work.
Melissa finished with 13 while Morgan Johnson, Theairra Taylor and Jaime Printy had 9 apiece.
The Hawkeyes are such a good passing team with 13 assists for the game. That’s 523 assists for the season which broke the old record of 514 set in 2011-12.
I’m still amazed Iowa won by 16. There were 41 fouls called in the game (Iowa had 20, Miami 21) and another 10 or so that could have been called with bodies flying all over the floor.
“I’m just really happy for this basketball team,” said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder. “They wanted this win.”
The 6,836 fans in attendance wanted the win as well.
Derek St. John, a former West High Trojan, became the 52nd national champion in program history, knocking off top-seeded Jason Welsh from Northwestern, 3-2, in Des Moines Saturday night.
Derek, at 157 pounds, finished third last year and the Hawkeyes placed fourth in the team race behind Penn State, Oklahoma State and Minnesota.
Tony Ramos, who has been seeded second all year at 133, finished second as Logan Stieber from Ohio State continued his five-match winning streak defeating Tony, 7-4.
Ethen Lofthouse (184) and Mike Evans (174) became All-Americans as Ethen placed fifth and Mike sixth.
The biggest surprise of the tournament was Matt McDonough, who has won two NCAA titles, not even placing in the tournament as he lost in the wrestle backs on Saturday.
There have been reports of Matt hurting his shoulder and it’s tough enough to wrestle when you’re healthy.
Top athletes always have an edge to them, and after losing twice during the season Matt might have lost that edge.
How good is the Big Ten?
Eight of the 10 weight classes had Big Ten wrestlers, two weight classes had both wrestlers from the Big Ten. That’s 12 wrestlers from the conference in the finals.
For the Hawkeyes it didn’t help that Nick Moore, seeded 10th at 165, lost his first match to an unseeded wrestler on the first day while Bobby Telford, seeded sixth at heavyweight, won his match but was hurt and didn’t wrestle again.
Iowa loses two seniors, Matt McDonough and Mark Ballweg (141), but has some good freshmen who redshirted coming up.