Tyler Cook is out for 3-4 weeks after surgery to repair a broken finger on his shooting hand. He's been Iowa's second best player next to Peter Jok and it really hasn't been close. News of his injury sent Hawkeye fans into a bit of a panic, but Tuesday night should calm the nerves a bit.
Both Jordan Bohannon and Cordell Pemsl played fantastic against Notre Dame. Bohannon led the team with 23 points and 7 assists, while Pemsl poured in 18 of his own. Pemsl showed dominance on the low block against one of the better front court players in the ACC, Bonzie Colson. There was a stretch there that Colson could not guard Pemsl.
The most impressive part of the night was the fact that Bohannon only turned the ball over once. Turnovers have been a problem for the Hawkeyes early on this year, but were not tonight. Bohannon's 15 attempted three pointers are the most by a Hawkeye since Chris Kingsbury attempted 19, according to Iowa Basketball's official Twitter account.
The minutes that Pemsl and Bohannon played tonight will be very valuable as we progress through this season and through their careers.
These had been a problem through the first couple of weeks. The Hawkeyes had been averaging 17 turnovers per game over the course of their first six ball games and that was hurting them in games down the stretch. You could probably point to Iowa's quick style of play, but it also has a lot to do with them being so young.
Last night, the Hawkeyes turned it over just six times, which was extremely impressive. It looked like they were playing a cleaner game on the offensive end. Bohannon was probably the most impressive cashing in 7 assists and just one turnover.
Six per game might be a bit unrealistic to expect each time out, but Iowa definitely took some steps towards cleaning those up for the rest of the season on Tuesday night.
New Starting Lineup
I actually liked the fact that Fran mixed things up with Tyler Cook being held out. He took Dom Uhl and Christian Williams out of the starting lineup and replaced them with Bohannon and Isaiah Moss. And he was obviously forced to sit Tyler Cook and he replaced him with Cordell Pemsl. All three new starters took advantage of the opportunity presented to them.
Bohannon had a team high 23 points and 7 assists, Pemsl poured in 18, and Isaiah Moss quietly had five points and five assists in 24 minutes. I believe this was kind of an experiment for Fran and his staff and they found out a lot about their youngsters.
And it even goes beyond just statistics. The biggest thing was that they were more active on defense and actually looked like they were taking pride in playing on the defensive end. Were there still holes? Yes. But it isn't going to be a finished product right away. They did however take a big step forward in my eyes.
If they would've gotten more than four of Peter Jok's 20 shots to fall, they would've been in the game until the end. He likely won't shoot that poorly again.
I'd expect the starters to be the same on Saturday for the Hawkeyes.
This was a gripe all night long. Notre Dame frequently went to the free throw line and the Hawkeyes just did not. For the game, Notre Dame shot 33 free throws, making 30. Iowa shot 16, making 12.
Fran McCaffery let the officials know he wasn't happy about the difference later on in the first half, which led to a technical foul. For the remainder of the half, I thought things leveled themselves out quite a bit.
However, I did think that the Irish were doing more on the offensive end to get to the line. They were attacking the rim more, as opposed to Iowa who was taking a lot of jump shots. I'm not saying I don't think there were some questionable calls, because I do, but it seemed like when Iowa worked the ball down onto the block, they got a foul call on the shot attempt.
Iowa has done a decent job of getting to the line this season, but Notre Dame did a great job last night and capitalized on it.
Iowa's Peter Jok missed his first free throw of the year last night, which broke a streak of 26 straight made free throws dating back to last season.
Sharing the Ball
Entering the game, the Hawkeyes ranked 28th in the country in total assists. They've been doing a great job of sharing the ball with each other and that continued last night. They tallied 22 assists on 27 made baskets last night to continue that trend. Bohannon led the way with his 7, which brings him up to around 5 per game so far this season. Moss had 5 assists and Pemsl had 3.
What is amazing to me is that Bohannon can jack up his 18 shots, but also remain a true point guard and get his teammates the ball. He's been earning extended minutes recently and he got them on Tuesday playing 32 minutes, which was good for second on the team right behind Peter Jok's 36.
A lot of times, young teams can get stagnant and start to stand around on offense, but we haven't seen that with the Hawkeyes yet really. They are playing offense like they've been together for the past couple of seasons. And they should only get better as the season wears on.