IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa ended a two-game losing streak Monday with 80-70 win against visiting North Florida at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It was anything but easy against the Atlantic Sun Conference foe with an RPI below 150.
On the positive side, Iowa attacked on offense, something it failed to do during losses to Iowa State and Northern Iowa in its previous two games. The Hawkeyes connected on 26 of 28 foul shots while the visitors were just 6 of 7.
"We wanted to get (to the foul line)," Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. "We wanted to throw it inside, drive the ball. We felt like we had to grind it a little bit more, go inside, go off the dribble, get them in a little bit of foul trouble."
Aaron White matched a season-high with 23 points for the winners. The senior captain connected on all eight of his free throw attempts, grabbed nine rebounds and recorded five steals.
The Hawkeyes were understandably upset after Saturday's loss to UNI in Des Moines. Monday, the played for themselves.
"The confidence came from just enjoying the game," White said. "It sounds silly but this game is fun. That's why we all started playing while we were young. You have to get back to enjoying and loving the game. That's where the confidence comes from."
Sophomore Peter Jok started the first game of his college career replacing Anthony Clemmons, who was limited to six minutes Monday after spraining an ankle against UNI. He twisted the other one against North Florida, McCaffery said.
"The starting thing isn't a big thing to me but it gave me more time to get in a rhythm," Jok said. "The more I play, the more comfortable I get. I'm seeing a lot of stuff slower. I'm seeing a lot of plays before they happen."
Jok scored 12 points in 22 minutes, dropping in 2 of 4 three-point attempts. Josh Oglesby added nine points off the Iowa bench, shaking free on a shooting slump with 3 of 4 from behind the arc.
"Especially being in a slump, you keep thinking about it, but I'm trying not to think about it and approaching each game like I'm zero for zero," Oglesby said.
Iowa finished its non-conference schedule at 9-4. The Hawkeyes registered one NCAA Tournament resume win, a 60-55 triumph at North Carolina on Dec. 3. They didn't beat another team inside the Top 150 of the RPI.
Iowa is idle until its Big Ten opener at Ohio State on Dec. 30.
"I feel good," McCaffery said. "We're getting a lot of productivity from a lot of people. Our defense has been good. It's got to be better in the second half against good teams. Every team we play from here on is really good. So, we have to address that."