After being a key piece off the bench in his sophomore season, Iowa's Dom Uhl was looked at as a guy that could take a giant step forward in now his junior year.
Uhl started the season in Fran McCaffery's starting five, but has slowing worked his way into an end of the bench role. He played just six minutes against Nebraska in their game in Lincoln and hasn't really been effective in any notable game this season.
That all changed on Sunday afternoon.
Dom Uhl finished with a season high in points with 10 and a season high in blocks with 5. Throw in 8 rebounds and Uhl pieced together a really nice game for the Hawkeyes, who desperately needed it as they were struggling with Rutgers, a team that is now 0-for-20 in Big Ten road games.
"He was the man today, I mean he was the difference in the game without question, I'm so proud of him," Fran McCaffery said in his post game press conference on Sunday.
It's hard to argue with McCaffery there.
Uhl gave Iowa 23 solid minutes. He took good shots, was active on both offense and defense, and was, behind Jok, Iowa's best player.
"It was definitely fun, to play a lot and to get a win like that and comeback, that's always fun," Uhl admitted after his best game of the season.
Iowa has been searching for Uhl to breakout and begin to contribute again. Before the breakout performance against Rutgers, Uhl had totaled just 6 points in three Big Ten games. He wasn't one of the key pieces to the puzzle that many thought he would be to start the season and he was losing minutes.
He had a few instances late in the first half where he made some silly mistakes, but it was all swept under the rug at the final buzzer because he was a big reason why Iowa won that game.
The biggest thing for me with Dom is confidence. It just doesn't look like he believes in himself out there. He's constantly passing up open shots and seems passive when it comes to trying to get into the lane and create for either himself or his teammates. Hopefully Sunday boosted Dom's confidence a little bit.
The Hawkeyes have their starting rotation set, but if Uhl can start to give Fran McCaffery 15-20 solid minutes off the bench and do what he did on Sunday, it's almost like McCaffery has another Nicholas Baer at his disposal. Uhl was good in every aspect on Sunday and will be a key piece to Iowa's bench as the season gets older.
Uhl and the Hawkeyes take on Purdue this Thursday in Iowa City. Dom played just 10 minutes the last time out against Purdue and had just two points and two rebounds.