Walk-on Keys Iowa Win

Iowa collected its first victory of the Fran McCaffery era on Tuesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes' bench came through for them, led by a strong effort from walk-on, Jordan Stoermer.

IOWA CITY, Ia. - Jordan Stoermer grew up dreaming about being a Hawkeye. When his Iowa City West High career ended, it looked like a long shot.

With no major Division I interest, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard joined Kirkwood Community College. Despite playing well for two years, he didn't receive much interest from Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter.

Things in Stoermer's world changed quickly this spring, however. Lickliter was let go by the school and Fran McCaffery took over the program. He tried out the Iowa City native and awarded him a walk-on spot.

Stoermer showed his worth in the second game of the season Tuesday night here at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. With Iowa floundering in the first half with Louisiana-Monroe, he re-charged his team's offense. Iowa went on to win, 68-40, in front of an announced crowd of 9,023.

"It's one of a kind," Stoermer said of his dream. "Not many people get to experience it. I've worked hard all my life and it's really rewarding to be able to live it."

Stoermer had opportunities for a scholarship from smaller schools and chances to walk on at other places. McCaffery said Tuesday he let him know he was wanted here.

"(We) got a lot of productivity from a lot of people, not the least of which was Jordan Stoermer,, which was spectacular" McCaffery said. "

Freshman Zach McCabe helped Iowa build a 15-5 advantage about midway through the first half. Iowa then went 5:23 without a point and the visitors ran off six unanswered points.

Stoermer entered the game for an ineffective Bryce Cartwright and promptly dropped in a 3-pointer from the right side. After an Eric May lay-up, Stoermer drilled another trey. Iowa had a 23-13 lead with 4:00 to play before the half. The walk-on contributed a team-best seven points before the intermission.

The Hawkeyes were without last year's leading scorer, guard Matt Gatens, for a second game in a row. The Iowa City native injured a tendon in his hand before the campaign. That opened up some minutes for Stoermer.

"(McCaffery) came up to me during the shoot around and told me to be ready for everything," said Stoermer, who finished with seven points, three rebounds and a steal in 19 minutes. "He just called my name, my number, and I was ready to go."

McCaffery said Gatens' return is questionable for this weekend's Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

"I think it's a good possibility," the coach said. "Two days ago, he was really frustrated. He wasn't making the progress he thought he was going to make. I think it's hard for him to sit and watch.

"He's got a little more range of motion now. We've got to get something on there and see what he can do. Again, I don' t make that decision."

McCabe led a balanced scoring attack for Iowa with 21 points. May and Devyn Marble each added nine and Melsahn Basabe pulled down a game-high 11 boards.

Marble and Bruce Cartwright were Iowa's first players off the bench Tuesday night, but they struggled with their offense. Stoermer's calm demeanor helped them later in the game.

"We couldn't score during that stretch where we had 15 for a long time," Marble said. "Stoermer came in and settled all that down. It clicked for me and Bryce."

TIP-INS:

-Payne (7) and Cartwright (4) dished out 11 assists between them with four turnovers.

-Louisiana Monroe committed 26 turnovers. Iowa gave it away 22 times.

-McCaffery displayed his fiery personality a few times Tuesday. He fired the clipboard onto the ground during one timeout and could be seen red-faced screaming on several occasions.

-McCaffery started the same five he did in the opener and exhibition - Cole, Basabe, May, McCabe and Payne.

-Iowa outscored Monroe, 29-9, in bench points.

-The Hawkeyes out-rebounded the visitors, 42-32.


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