Who Let the Hawks Out; Iowa Wins Opener 107-80

The Iowa Hawkeyes averaged 69.1 points per game last season and they never scored more than 90 games all year long. This year, Iowa has more firepower than they did a season ago as evidenced by the Hawkeyes 107-80 victory against UNC-Asheville in Iowa City. Five Hawkeyes scored in double figures, led by Pierre Pierce who poured in 26 in his first game since March of 2001 after being suspended for the 2002-2003 season.

OFFICIAL GAME STATS

The Iowa Hawkeyes averaged 69.1 points per game last season and they never scored more than 90 games all year long.

This year, Iowa has more firepower than they did a season ago as evidenced by the Hawkeyes 107-80 victory against UNC-Asheville.

Rob Howe will have the post game quotes and notes later this evening.

Five Hawkeyes scored in double figures, led by Pierre Pierce who poured in 26 in his first game since March of 2001 after being suspended for the 2002-2003 season.

In addition to his 26 points, Pierce had five rebounds, six assists and just one turnover in 28 minutes of action. He made six of his eight free throw attempts and hit two of three from downtown.

Jared Reiner had 14 points and 11 rebounds, notching a double-double in his first game of the year. Reiner nearly averaged a double-double last season.

Brody Boyd had the hot hand in the first half as he led the Hawkeyes with 14 points at the break. Boyd did not score in the second half.

Greg Brunner and Nick DeWitz each added 11 points. Sean Sonderleiter chipped in nine points and Jeff Horner had eight. Horner had seven assists, with six of those coming in the first half.

Iowa shot .538 from the floor for the game, including 8 of 14 from three-point range. Iowa shot below .300 from beyond the arc last season and that aspect of their game was will be one of their biggest question marks for this season. Brody Boyd was 3 of 4 from three-point land.

The Hawkeyes dominated the glass 51-34.

Here are some things that jumped out at me after watching the game live and before reviewing the game film:

+ The team really played unselfishly. Even though Pierce scored 25 points, he may have been the most unselfish player on the court this day. Early on in the game he could have attempted a difficult reverse layup, a play that he would have tried for his freshman year, but he fired a pass out to an open Brody Body and Boyd hit the trey.

For the game, Iowa had 28 assists. That is a very, very high number and speaks to the unselfish play.

+ The Hawkeyes looked well in transition in this game and this team will be Alford's most up-tempo offering to date. When you run, you also turn the ball over. Iowa had 17 turnovers, but they forced 15. Iowa will take a +11 assist to turnover count each game this year if they could.

+ Steve Alford has sooo much flexibility for lineup combinations with this team, especially in Nick DeWitz can hit the occasional three-point shot. He hit one of those in the first half of the game on Sunday. DeWitz also saw some time at the ‘four' spot in the second half.

+ Mike Henderson is a great addition to this team and though he made a few rookie mistakes, he showed his ability to get to the basket and finish or dish. He had seven points, five assists and just one turnover.

+ Ben Rand looked solid during his time on the court, hitting his first official shot as a Hawkeye, a three-pointer.

- Coach Alford will have plenty to coach about tomorrow prior to the game against Drake on Tuesday, namely Iowa's half court defensive execution. It was not pretty in this game, even though the Hawkeyes held UNC-Ashville to .377 shooting from the floor.

When you shoot a lot of shots off fast breaks or secondary breaks, you are going to open yourself up for more shot opportunities by your opponent because of the tempo of the game and the ‘time per possession' factor. Teams that run give up points. It is just a fact.

But there will be some good coaching opportunities from this game.

Another thing that Iowa must work on, and they will as the season goes along, is getting Jared Reiner more post feeds. That is something that Iowa has lacked in the Alford era and Reiner is too good a weapon to not get at least 12 to 15 shot attempts per game.

The announced attendance was 10,978. I think that a lot of Iowa fans that were watching this game at home saw some things today that should get them very excited about what the 2003-2004 season might have in store. It is going to be a very exciting team that will not be out manned in any game they play this season.

Over a 27-game regular season schedule, there is bound to be a poor outing or two. It happens to the best teams and Iowa will be no different. But there is no reason why this Iowa team should not be more than competitive in every game and there will not be any excuses if this team fails to win at LEAST eight games in Big Ten play.

The 107 points scored by the Hawkeyes is the most an Iowa team has scored in a game since the 1997-1998 Iowa team put up 112 on 11/16/97 against North Texas. That team opened the season with three consecutive 101+ point games.


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