I was extremely impressed with the supporting cast last night. Peter Jok and Jordan Bohannon stepped up and both got 18 points apiece, but it was the other guys that impressed me. The Hawkeyes had 5 guys score between 8 and 10 points with Brady Ellingson leading the way at 10. He was 4-5 from the field and 2-2 at the free throw line. Brady continues to be impressive in the minutes that he does see. He gives Iowa another guard that can shoot it, plus he is an exceptional defender. Nicholas Baer, Cordell Pemsl, Isaiah Moss, and Ahmad Wagner were the other four that helped out significantly. Pemsl was able to record 9 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. He was replaced by Dom Uhl in the starting lineup because he was late to the shoot around yesterday. Pemsl will need to clean up the 1-8 from the free throw line, but other than that he was good once again for the Hawkeyes.
First Half Run
North Dakota has a solid team. They get after you, work hard, and don't ever quit, which was evident late in the game. I figured the Hawkeyes would need to go on some type of run to create separation between them and the Fighting Hawks. The run came much sooner than I had anticipated. UND cut Iowa's lead to 3 with about 9 minutes left in the first half, but Iowa answered with a 16-0 run over the course of about 5 minutes and 40 seconds. The run allowed Iowa to take a double digit lead into the half and essentially lock down a victory. While the deficit was cut to 7 a few different times in the second half, the Fighting Hawks never made a real run at the Hawkeyes. Whenever it looked like they might, Iowa got big buckets.
Jok Steps Up in Other Areas
Peter Jok was just 4-15 from the field again and was unable to cash in on a three pointer (0-3). Fran credits what UND did against Peter on defense citing the fact that they were face guarding him, switching on him, and doubling him. That was exactly what UND wanted to do, but I thought Pete stepped up and helped his guys out in other ways and so did he. He had 8 rebounds and 4 assists to go along with his 18 points. Jok also did a good job of getting to the free throw line, he was 10-10 there for the game. Jok has impressed me quite a bit in other aspects of his game this season and has truly become a threat in all areas. He attacks the glass well and is sharing the ball at a decent clip. I thought he missed some shots he usually makes, but Jok was at his best in the second half when he pushed Iowa's lead from 7 to 11 on back-to-back Iowa possessions.
The Hawkeyes did a great job in the first half turning UND over. The Fighting Hawks turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, but it felt like more. Iowa turned that into 16 points. For the game the Fighting Hawks turned it over 16 times and that turned into 20 total points for the Hawkeyes. UND definitely did a better job taking care of the ball and limiting transition opportunities for Iowa in the second half, but they did not in the first half and that cost them. The Hawkeyes looked leaps and bounds better than UND in the first half during their 16-0 run, which was mostly due to the fact that UND kept turning it over. On the flip side, the Hawkeyes turned it over just 10 times, which I'm sure Fran McCaffery would take every single time out. Jordan Bohannon had a couple silly turnovers, but for the most part, the Hawkeyes took pretty good care of the basketball. The game was extremely physical so that should be good experience for Jordan and the rest of the young guys as we approach Big Ten play. Bohannon played a team high 34 minutes last night.
Late Game Antics
I'm sure by now everyone has seen what happened towards the end of the game. UND was roughing Jok up a bit in the second half having Josh Collins follow him around, it was particularly evident late in the game. Along with Jok, Bohannon was getting the same treatment. He was actually T'd up on a dead ball because he felt like he was being held. Jordan wound up pushing a UND player and the rest was history. The final straw was when Corey Baldwin stole the ball from Nicholas Baer, down 11, with 3 seconds left on the clock. Fran McCaffery walked off the court not shaking the hands of the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. His players did the same.
I don't really think I have a side on this. I'm a firm believer that you should always shake your opponents hand after a game, which was a hard fought one at that. But I also hated what UND was doing late in the game. With three seconds left, there is no reason to be mauling your opponent to attempt to cut the lead to 9.
Being competitive is one thing, but there comes a point when you have to admit defeat. Down 11 with 3 seconds left is that point. It ended with assistant coach and former Iowa great, Jeff Horner, yelling at a few Hawkeyes as they walked off the court. There was so much going on it was awfully hard to keep track of it all. Fran McCaffery did come out and say that he apologizes and wishes he would've shook hands because he has a lot of respect for Brian and Jeff, but Fran was not having it at the end of the game.