First Half - No Jok
Peter Jok picked up two fouls rather quickly in the first half. That obviously isn't the formula Fran McCaffery was looking for out of the gate. But he got great production from guys while Jok was riding the bench. It was really an entire team effort. The Hawkeyes had a confusing lineup on the court for a good portion of the first half, but Cordell Pemsl and Nicholas Baer really helped pick up the scoring effort for Iowa, who took an 11 point lead into the break with Peter Jok scoring just 1 point. Things could've spiraled quickly out of control with no Jok on the court, but the Hawkeyes did a great job pulling away from the Nittany Lions in the first half without the Big Ten's leading scorer. That again speaks to the maturation of such a young team. It also speaks to how deep Fran McCaffery's team is.
Jok Early Second Half
What's the best way to get a scorer going after he plays just 5 minutes in the first half? Get him the ball early. That is exactly what Fran McCaffery did. Jok scored 11 points in the first 3 minutes for Iowa and that had Iowa's lead pushed out to 14 points early in the second half. This meant the Hawkeyes would not have to ride the bench mob in the second half much like they did in the first half. It was also nice to see him get going on senior day, playing his last game inside Carver Hawkeye Arena. We know he's the purest scorer in the Big Ten and when he's contributing these Hawkeyes are better. He finished with 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting on senior day.
Dale Jones Gets the Start
Jones has had an injury plagued career at the University of Iowa. We thought he'd contribute on a young team this season, but just couldn't get healthy enough to do so. On senior day, Fran McCaffery opted to give Dale the start and it was truly nice to see a young man that worked hard, didn't complain, and enjoyed the process get to start on his senior day. And of course he scores the first points of the game on a three point field goal for the Hawkeyes. He didn't play more than the 3 minutes he was on the court to start the game and the final 45 seconds, but it was just a nice gesture from McCaffery to start Dale and it was even nicer to see him score his first points of the season in his last game at Carver.
Don't Want to Play This Team
This is as good as the Hawkeyes have looked all season long. They've won four straight games now and have done so in impressive fashion, beating Indiana in double OT, beating Maryland and Wisconsin on the road, and then waxing Penn State at home on Senior Day. Only Purdue and Minnesota right now could be candidates for me as other teams that I don't want to play in our nation's capitol this upcoming week in the Big Ten tournament. Iowa is doing everything right. They're defending, they are knocking down shots at an impressive clip, and they have multiple guys chipping in. The latter is what makes Iowa so dangerous for me. When you have so many guys that are pouring in points it makes you extremely difficult to defend and that is Iowa right now.
The 3-point defense was still a bit shaky early on for me. They were giving up a lot of wide open looks in the first half, but Penn State just really wasn't getting them to fall. Iowa's zone defense had trouble rotating and finding open shooters. Penn State was just 8-of-28 from 3-point land, but missed a lot of wide open looks in the first half especially. The Hawkeyes have gotten away with this a few times, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on as we head into the postseason. Although, if Iowa's offense is clicking like they were against Penn State it might not matter. However, you can't count on that every time out, especially against good defensive teams.