This one against Rutgers was one of the uglier games the Hawkeyes have played this season. From the tip until the end, the Hawkeyes looked out of sync. They were turning the ball over more than usual and some things they were doing left me scratching my head. A few examples were at the end of the first half when Dom Uhl pulled in a defensive rebound and then fired an outlet pass to pretty much nobody. That led to a Corey Sanders layup. The other instance was in the second half when Christian Williams and Uhl botched a 2-on-1 fast break opportunity after an excellent hustle play from Williams. They just looked flat and it showed for the duration of the game. They were able to tighten it up enough to earn the win, but they'll have to be sharper on Thursday night against Purdue.
Uhl Played Better
Everyone expected junior forward, Dom Uhl, to take a big step forward this season. So far, he's been pretty underwhelming. He looks like he lacks confidence in his jump shot, which was so lethal early in Big Ten play last season. He doesn't do anything special on the defensive side so it's been a bit rough for Dom over the first two months of the season or so. Today was a big step forward for him. And for me, it looked like he was trending in this direction over the last couple games. He'd been making some hustle plays for the Hawkeyes that went unnoticed and tonight he scored 10 points, had 8 rebounds, and had 5 blocks as well. It was a Nicholas Baer type night for Dom and hopefully he can build off of it because he'd be a key piece for an Iowa team that seems to be finding a bit of an identity.
Group Has Something Last Years Lacked
It's taken me four conference games to realize that this years bunch definitely has something that last years group lacked. It seemed like these types of games always went in the opposite direction last season, but it's been different this year. And it started with the game against Michigan. They had players step up and hit big shots in a close game. Jordan Bohannon and Peter Jok both hit big shots in that game against the Wolverines. They struggled a bit against Nebraska with some late game stuff, but got big shots from Jok and Baer tonight when Iowa's lead was just one possession. Those baskets that made the game two possessions were huge and they were both with less than two minutes left in the game. They showed resiliency staying calm and coming back from a nine point deficit in the middle of the second half.
Glass Needs Better Cleaning
One of my keys to the game was Iowa needing to keep the Rutgers lengthy forwards off the offensive glass. They were unable to do that tonight. They gave up 19 offensive rebounds to the Scarlet Knights, which is four more than their average per game. They gave up five to Deshawn Freeman, who had a double double and really impressed me. Then they gave up 3 apiece to CJ Gettys and Ibrahima Diallo as well. This led to 13 second chance points for the Knights, which was 6 more than Iowa had on the day. This also helped Rutgers secure a 40-26 scoring advantage in the paint. Much of that was Freeman and Johnathan Laurent, who had 8 points off the bench. Iowa needs to be better in this area with the lengthy Boilermakers coming to town in a few days.
Bohannon Dealing with Pressure
He's been much better dealing with pressure than I thought he would be over the first four games. He had 8 points today to go along with 8 assists, which is a career high for him. He turned it over four times, but that two to one assist to turnover ratio is something I'll take every time out. He's exceeding all the expectations I had for him coming in because he's been stellar. I didn't think he'd break the starting lineup in his freshman season, but he proved me wrong in late November. He did a good job hitting late free throws when his jump shot wasn't falling. He had a couple of nice buckets inside as well, which we haven't seen much of this season. I'm looking forward to watching him grow as this season and his career progresses.