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Iowa Baskeball: Hawkeyes Hold Off Pesky North Dakota

Iowa beat a pesky North Dakota team on Tuesday night by a final of 84-73.

The Iowa Hawkeyes and North Dakota Fighting Hawks hadn't played in over 40 years. So, they were due. The game brought us the return of Brian Jones, a former Iowa assistant and Northern Iowa graduate. It also brought former Iowa standout, Jeff Horner back to Iowa City.

The Fighting Hawks and the Hawkeyes played each other close until the 9:04 mark in the first half. Connor Avants connected inside to close Iowa's lead to three at 21-18. However, Iowa then went on a 16-0 run over the next six minutes to stretch that lead out to 19. Iowa was active on defense forcing 12 first half turnovers and were great capitalizing off of those turnovers. They had 16 points off turnovers in the first half. Isaiah Moss was especially good in transition. 

It was a half capped by an Isaiah Moss dunk, but Ahmad Wagner slammed home three big time dunks in the first half to overshadow Isaiah. Moss led all Iowa scorers at the break with 9 points in what was a very balanced scoring attack. Iowa and North Dakota went to the locker room with the score at 41-30. 

North Dakota cut Iowa's lead to seven points shortly after the second half had started, but Cordell Pemsl squashed that after he connected on an old fashioned three point play to push Iowa's lead back to 10. He and Ahmad Wagner picked up their third fouls early on in the half, so they were forced to head to the bench.

The Fighting Hawks started to show a bit more aggressiveness on both sides towards the middle part of the half. They got the lead down to single digits for a while as Peter Jok picked up his third foul as well. With just over 9 minutes left, North Dakota was in striking distance.

Both teams went into a bit of a dry spell with the lead still frozen at 7. North Dakota didn't record a field goal from the 9:55 mark to the 2:55 mark and by the time they got a basket the Hawkeyes had pushed the lead out to 16 points. Four Hawkeyes helped expand the lead with Peter Jok doing most of the damage that got the run started. Jordan Bohannon, Brady Ellingson, and Ahmad Wagner were the other Hawkeyes that helped Iowa grow their lead. 

However, the Fighting Hawks weren't going to go quietly. Both Jok and Pemsl picked up their fourth fouls with about 6 minutes left in the game and both players were forced to leave. Unfortunately for North Dakota, they were unable to take advantage. 

North Dakota did connect on a pair of three pointers with just over two minutes left in the game to shrink the lead to 10, but Nicholas Baer buried a three pointer to push t back out to 13 moments later.

Iowa knocked down late free throws to ice a victory for the black and gold.

They pulled out an 84-73 victory, but not before things got a little testy. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery did not like the actions late of a North Dakota player and instructed his team to walk off the court without shaking hands. And they did. Former Iowa guard had a few choice words for Pemsl and Bohannon as they walked off their home floor.

Peter Jok and Jordan Bohannon led the way for Iowa with 18 points apiece. Jok did struggle from field shooting just 4-15 from the field and 0-3 from three, but he added 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Cordell Pemsl didn't start because he was late to today's shoot around, but he finished with 9 points and 11 rebounds in 24 minutes. 

The Hawkeyes will be back in action on Thursday night inside Carver Hawkeye Arena. They'll take on Delaware State at 8pm CT.  

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