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Iowa Basketball: Five Takeaways from Iowa's NIT Opening Win Over South Dakota

Five takeaways from Iowa's NIT opening win over South Dakota.

Turnovers

We've seen the Hawkeyes deal with turnover problems this season. Every team does it, it's just part of the game. Iowa had one of those nights tonight. They turned the ball over 10 times in the first half, which was pretty close to as sloppy as I think I've seen them play. A lot of it looked like they were just in too big of a hurry. They threw the ball out of bounds a few times going up the court and we even saw players dribble the ball off of another players foot trying to get going to the front court. They were able to tighten things up in the second half a bit turning it over just 6 times, but that kind of sloppy play can and will lose you ball games. 

Free Throws

Free throws were one of my big keys for Iowa coming into tonight. South Dakota is among the best in the nation at getting to the free throw line and then making them. For a big chunk of the night, the Coyotes were hurting Iowa from the stripe and it looked like that might come back to bite them in the rear. Luckily for them, it did not. The Yotes were as solid as they've ever been at the line, reaching their yearly average of 18 makes on 25 attempts while the Hawkeyes made just 7 of their 15 attempts. We've seen them really struggle at the line and we've seen them be very good at the line, it sort of depends on the night. Fran McCaffery would sure love to see his team clicking from the line on Sunday against TCU.

Battled All Night

South Dakota wasn't just going to come in here and roll over. Iowa knew that. They got a battle from the Coyotes all night and Iowa showed that they really want to be in this tournament and playing postseason basketball. A lot of bigger programs tend to sweep the NIT under the rug. We saw that on Tuesday with the first games. Bigger schools lost to smaller schools. Iowa had leads of 8 and 9 early in the second half, but just couldn't seem to really pull away from the Coyotes. They finally were able to midway through the second half, playing to their strengths and getting big shots from guys like Bohannon, Jok, and Cook - who was 8-of-8 from the field. They showed a lot of character against a team that came in with not much to lose as one of the 8 seeds in this tournament. Kudos to Iowa for staying tough. 

Moss with No Jok

Peter Jok picked up his second foul with just over 8 minutes left in the first half. Iowa's lead was slim and USD was proving to be a formidable opponent. Where was Iowa's scoring going to come from with the Big Ten's leading scorer riding the pine? At first, it didn't look like Iowa was going to get it from anyone, really. Fran McCaffery subbed Jok back in with around 5 minutes left in the half, but redshirt freshman, Isaiah Moss, caught fire shortly after. He drilled three 3-point field goals and McCaffery was able to sub Jok back out to ensure he did not pick up that third foul in the first half. Iowa was able to take a slim lead into the locker room and Moss was a big reason why. Without those big baskets, Jok might've stayed in and gotten into even more foul trouble than he was in before. Moss was also defending USD's best player, which wasn't an easy task.

Bohannon Play Making Ability

He was fantastic in the Big Ten Tournament game against Indiana and didn't slow down against South Dakota. He was once again fantastic during all of the 37 minutes he spent on the court and proved that he is going to continue to be a big time playmaker. He finished with 19 points, 11 assists, and just 1 turnover for Iowa. The most impressive part is the 1 turnover. South Dakota was hounding him the entire night, trying to force him into some silly mistakes, but he never wavered. Couple that with some big three point makes in the second half and Bohannon was the star of the night. He got a lot of help, but back to back double doubles for a true freshman is always going to jump off the page for me. I might sound like a broken record, but he has exceed all expectations for me in his first season as a Hawkeyes.


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