Hawks Hook Horns; Beat 2nd Straight Top 15 Foe

The Iowa Hawkeyes beat another Top 15 team for the second straight night game in Maui. We take an in depth look at what happened, as well as player and team analysis in this instant react/recap. For this entire Thanksgiving Week, all of our stories are FREE. You can read all of our stories, including our recruiting reports, as well as stories from the entire Scout.com network. <a href=http://mb2.scout.com/fiowafansfrm2.showMessage?topicID=9021.topic target=new>CLICK HERE</a> for detail

BOX SCORE | PHOTOS

The Iowa Hawkeyes overcame poor free throw shooting and a rough outing by Pierre Pierce for the second straight night and beat another Top 15 team for the second straight night.

Iowa 82, #13 Texas 80.

Iowa will play either Tennessee or North Carolina tomorrow night in the championship game.

HAWKS DEFY STATISTICS

When you break down the numbers for this game, Iowa should not have won it, in my estimation.

They shot just .394 from the floor, compared to .467 shooting for Texas. The battle on the glass was about even, with Iowa having a slight advantage. Iowa shot just .636 (21-33) from the free throw line.

However, for the second straight game, Iowa was relentless in attacking a high-pressure defense. Sure, they made some mistakes, but this Iowa team can get to the basket. They will learn how to finish as the year goes on.

Even though Iowa shot poorly from the line, Texas was worse, making just 13-22. That is eight more points for Iowa from the line, and one fewer made free throw than what Texas attempted, a hallmark of the Iowa basketball program for the past 15 years.

It should be noted, however, that Iowa was 18 of 25 (75%) from the line in the second half.

HANSEN CONTINUES TO IMPRESS

Bill Raferty and Jay Bilas love Erek, and why not? He had four blocks in the first half after collecting five in the second half last night. You can see that he has some offensive skills that are just starting to surface, he is an excellent help side defender and he runs the floor like a ‘three'.

He had a couple of crucial turnovers late in the game. I blame part of that on him and part of that for having him have the ball 30 feet from the hoop under those circumstances.

Hansen had 11 points, six rebounds and four blocks in this game and altered even more shots than he blocked.

Coach Alford said in the post game that there were a lot of NBA scouts in attendance for this tournament, and they are seeing Hansen emerge, as well. If Hansen keeps this up, he will get drafted.

There are a lot of people that have questioned the Iowa staff's ability to develop players. Hansen is certainly one player that they can point to as getting better as his career has gone along. Greg Brunner has also gotten better from year to year, and Horner is playing excellent basketball right now, picking up where he left off from last season.

With the addition of Crag Neal, known for his talent evaluation and developmental skills, the program really has some wind at its back right now.

HORNER HITTING FROM DOWNTOWN

For the second straight game, Jeff Horner willed his Hawkeye team to a win. Horner scored 11 points in a four-minute span in the second half against Louisville after not getting many touches in the first half of that game.

Against Texas, he hit 6 of 10 three's, including four of six in the first half. Whenever Texas was starting to add to a lead in the first half, it was a Horner three that stopped their momentum.

He finished the game with 27 points and dished out six assists to just two turnovers. He is off to a rock solid start, and looks better than the Horner of 2003-2004 right out of the gate this year, which is a great thing to see.

However, he has logged a lot of minutes in these first two games, and one wonders if he will have a let down on Wednesday. He was getting beaten off of the dribble late in the game against Texas, due to fatigue. He has played 78 of 80 possible minutes on back-to-back nights.

BALANCE & CONTROL

For the third straight game to start the season, at least four Hawkeyes scored in double figures. Greg Brunner put in 17 points and collected a team high eight rebounds.

The most impressive stat of the night, at least to me, is that Iowa had just 11 turnovers in this game, while forcing 16. 11 turnovers against Texas' pressure defense is very impressive. In back to back games against two high-pressure teams, Iowa is +7 in the turnover department.

Iowa also had a positive assist to turnover ratio for the second straight game, and their opponent had a negative ratio for the second straight game.

Those numbers should not be ignored, and it should be noted that those games came against two teams that were ranked in the Top 15 in the country, and two teams that play great, in-your-shirt defense.

Iowa also played Texas, a great rebounding team, to a dead heat on the glass: 42-42. Iowa had 17 offensive boards to Texas' 13, another great number.

For the year, Iowa's opponents are getting off five fewer shots per game than the Hawkeyes. That is about the reverse from what we have seen over the last few seasons. That is a stat to keep your eye on all season long.

PIERRE PIERCE HAS OFF NIGHT

Pierce had a rough night, going just 7-18 from the floor. He has had bad shooting nights before, but in this game, it was his decision making that was obviously poor. He threw up far too many ‘prayers', and the 27-foot three point shot that he made that put Iowa up by two with 44.4 seconds remaining could be categorized as a bad decision.

Pierce had the ball with a three on one numbers advantage, and chose to pull up at the free throw, and missed the jumper.

Pierce also made a poor decision on defense late in the game.

Iowa was up 70-64 with 3:54 remaining, and momentum very much in their favor. He chose to bear hug a Texas player who had gotten the ball down low, despite having Erek Hansen behind him for help side defense. He was whistled for an intentional foul, and Texas hit both free throws and on the same possession, they hit a three-pointer. So it was a five-point possession, and the Hawkeye lead was down to one, and their momentum went out the window.

Pierce is a very good college basketball player and he is well liked by his teammates. But in the first three games of the season, he is playing like a true freshman. Actually, it's worse than that, because most true freshman don't have the free reign on offense that Pierce has. He has taken 16 shots per game, making just 37.5 percent of them.

Pierce is a relentless competitor and a good teammate. He just needs to play more team basketball and remember that this is not the 2003-2004 season. I am probably being harder on him than some think I should, but I just expect more.

It should be noted that even during this game, Pierce showed why he can be so good…he made some great passes, he played some great defense and he played a lot of point, moving Horner to the two. Pierce scored 18 points, seven boards and had a team high seven assists and a team high four steals,

Once he gets the offense and decision making figured out, this team is going to be very hard to beat.

PIERCE ROLLS ANKLE

Pierce was hurt in the game's final seconds, as Texas' last second shot to win the game fell by the way side. He rolled his ankle after he stepped on the foot of a Longhorn, and he was in serious pain as he was helped off the court. He was not putting any pressure on the ankle. Coach Alford said in the post game interview with Gary Dolphin that Pierce had rolled his ankle in the Western Illinois game. His prognosis was not known immediately after the game; therefore he is questionable for tomorrow night's game against the Tennessee-UNC winner.


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