Hawks 'Light It Up' Against Stingy Air Force

Iowa Head Coach Steve Alford was wary of Air Force's deliberate style of play when we spoke with him on Monday, and his Hawkeyes certainly got a taste of that on Tuesday night. Iowa attempted just 40 shots in the game, but fortunately they made 68 percent of them as they beat Air Force 73-63. Iowa led by 24 points with less than seven minutes in the game, but Air Force made three, three-point shots in the last 23 seconds to make the game seem much more closely contested than it was...

Iowa's 73-63 win against Air Force on Tuesday night was a lot like a Maid-Rite sandwich: bland bread to start, fantastic meat in the middle, and then bland bread at the end. (BOX SCORE | AP PHOTO GALLERY)

The Hawkeyes were held to a low scoring first half, but were up by 24 points late in the second half (61-37 with 6:38 to go in the game), only to see Air Force hit a barrage of three-pointers with the game in hand to only win by 10. Air Force hit 3 three-point shots in the final 23 seconds of the game, so the final score was not indicative of how Iowa controlled things for much of the game.

It was Iowa's 11th win in 12 attempts, so that is a good thing. Another good thing is that this contest will be another teaching opportunity for the Iowa coaching staff as the Hawkeyes inch closer to Big Ten conference play.

Scoring 73 points against Air Force on just 40 field goal attempts speaks to excellent execution. Iowa scored 48 points in the paint compared to just 14 for visiting Air Force. Iowa made 68 percent of its field goal attempts against one of the best defensive teams in the nation. Air Force had held its opponents to 45 percent shooting from the floor before Tuesday night's game.

Coming into this game, Air Force opponents were scoring just under 50 points per game, good for the second best scoring defense in the nation. Air Force has finished the last two seasons as the top rated scoring defense in the country.

Prior to the game against Iowa, Air Force had not allowed more than 69 points in any game this year, and five of their previous 10 opponents had not scored more than 42 points.

National power Georgia Tech scored 64 points against Air Force, an NCAA tournament qualifier from the 2003-2004 season, in a game played on 12/11.

Pierre Pierce each scored 19 points to lead the Hawkeyes, while Greg Brunner added 17 points and nine rebounds. Adam Haluska scored 14 points. Pierce had seven rebounds and six assists to just two turnovers in one of his better all-around performances of the season, in addition to leading Iowa with three steals.

Jeff Horner, who entered the game averaging nearly 16 points per contest, made the lone shot that he attempted. He finished with seven points and five rebounds. He had an uncharacteristic floor game, as he had six turnovers to just three assists.

Iowa had 32 rebounds to just 18 for Air Force, yet Iowa turned the ball over 19 times to Air Force's 14 giveaways.

As previously mentioned, Iowa dominated the game in the paint, something that should not be overlooked when you consider that Air Force's ‘Princeton' offense that features plenty of backdoor cuts and motion, typically will score several easy baskets. Air Force had just six points in the paint until very late in the contest.

11,158 fans turned out for this game, not a bad total when you consider that school is not in session.

Iowa will close out it's out of conference season on Friday when they host Saint Louis, another team that likes to slow down the pace of a game.

To read post game quotes from the Hawkeye Radio Network, CLICK HERE

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