Coming into today I wondered whether or not we'd see a hangover from the Iowa Hawkeyes, who dropped a double OT thriller against Nebraska just a few short days ago. They were facing a Rutgers team that was coming off a 28 point loss in East Lansing to the Michigan State Spartans.
After Isaiah Moss drilled a three pointer to put Iowa up 3-0, Rutgers took over. They went on an 8-0 run after that and were in it for the long haul. For the Hawkeyes, they were struggling. They were turning it over a bunch and just looked flat on both offense and defense.
The Hawkeyes began to pull away a little bit at the under four media timeout when they held a 30-24 lead. However, after that Rutgers ended the half on a 8-0 run and we were headed into the locker tied at 32. The Hawkeyes didn't score in the final 2:52 of game action.
Rutgers had forced 9 turnovers in the first half, held an advantage on points in the paint, and on the offensive glass. They were outplaying Iowa over the first 20 minutes.
Rutgers got out hot to start the second half. They'd stretched a lead to 3 points at 40-37 and forced Fran McCaffery to take a timeout. Rutgers was carving up Iowa's zone defense and dominating them on the glass.
The second half progressed and Iowa continued to look flat. They trailed 49-41 with just over 12 minutes left and Christian Williams had just missed an easy layup after a really nice hustle play. That looked like it was just going to sum Iowa's day up. But they didn't let up.
Iowa used an 8-0 run from 9:20 to 6:25 to close that Rutgers lead to one at 51-50. They looked to just ratchet up the intensity level. They were still turning the ball over, but they were clearly playing with a higher energy level, especially defensively. The Hawkeyes took a 57-55 lead at the under four timeout and were looking to ice it away and earn a victory.
Both Peter Jok and Nicholas Baer hit big shots for Iowa when they had two point leads. Jok made one with over two minutes left to push the lead to four and Baer hit one with just over a minute left to give Iowa another two possession lead. From there, Iowa made free throws and when the clock hit zeros they had won by a final of 68-62.
Peter Jok ended with 18 points and 11 rebounds. The double double is his third of the season. Jok was just 2-10 from three, which you can give Corey Sanders credit for. He did a heck of a job against Jok all night.
Cordell Pemsl scored 13 points on 5-8 shooting. Dom Uhl had his best game of the season finishing with 10 points, 8 boards, and 5 blocks in 23 minutes.
The turnovers were a big problem for Iowa today. They turned it over 18 times. They also allowed Rutgers to gather 19 offensive rebounds on the night. That'll have to be better on Thursday.
Iowa takes on Purdue in game number two against the Boilermakers this season. The first one did not end so well for Iowa. They lost that game by 22 points back on December 28th.
The two teams tip off at 8 p.m. CT on Thursday in Iowa City, IA.