IOWA CITY, Iowa - Anthony Clemmons continued an impressive turnaround from a sluggish sophomore season. The point guard started Iowa's exhibition opener Sunday against Northwood after ending the 2013-14 campaign near the end of the Hawkeyes bench.
Clemmons helped spark an Iowa team that rolled up 14 steals in a 92-51 victory. The junior from Lansing, MI stole the ball four times in 15 minutes.
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery stressed defense this off-season after his team lost seven of its last eight games a year ago. After allowing Northwood to score 32 in Sunday's first half, the Hawkeyes clamped down. The Seahawks scored just seven points in the first 10 and half minutes after the intermission.
Clemmons ranks as Iowa's best perimeter defender. It's his work on that end of the floor that has him as a starter at this juncture, pushing Mike Gesell from the point to the off guard spot.
"This is what I worked for," the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Clemmons said. "I earned everything that I got. Being in the starting lineup, that doesn't really mean anything. I can't really relax on it. I've been put out of the starting lineup before. It's something where I have to keep on pushing myself and keep getting after it and make coach satisfied."
"Right now, Clemmons has been the most consistent guy from the opening day of practice until now, and he earned that position," McCaffery said. "Now, we're a little more defensive oriented than we would be if Josh or Pete were in there."
Jok came off the bench to score 16 points in 17 minutes, hitting both of his three-point attempts. Oglesby netted nine in 18 minutes, connecting on 3 of 7 trey tries.
Overall, the Hawkeyes shot 9 of 18 from behind the three-point arc. They also scored 29 points off of turnovers and held a 44-16 advantage on points in the paint.
Iowa struggled to pull away from the Seahawks in the first half. The Hawkeye starters lacked the intensity McCaffery sought and the coach called on his bench early.
"I wasn't really excited about the energy of the first unit to start the game," McCaffery said.
The Hawkeye first-teamers found inspiration in the halftime locker room. Jarrod Uthoff (15 points, 7 rebounds) notched nine points and added an assist as they outscored Northwood 11-2 in the first five minutes after the intermission. They never looked back.
"We just needed to bring more intensity," Uthoff said. "We just didn't bring it in the first half. The guys decided to come together in the second half, buckle up, play some defense and really attack them."
McCaffery mixed and matched various lineups. He went with Jok and Oglesby together quite a bit in the second half. The three-point marksmen helped spread the floor and open up the lane for easy baskets.
Newcomers Trey Dickerson and Dominique Uhl performed well in their first action in front of the home fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Dickerson, a JUCO point guard last year, overcame some early jitters to score eight points, dish out two assists and grab two steals in 21 minutes. Uhl filled the stat sheet with eight points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 24 minutes.
Iowa star Aaron White played just 17 minutes but scored 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the floor and grabbed seven boards.
McCaffery played 10 different players at least 15 minutes each.