IOWA CITY - Jeff Peterson looked much more like a veteran than a freshman point guard playing his first Division I basketball Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Things probably won't continue to go as smoothly as they did in the debut, but it turned out to be a heck of a start.
Peterson scored 12 points and handed out nine assists in helping Iowa to a 58-43 victory against Idaho State to kick off the Todd Lickliter era. The freshman scored all 12 of his points in the first half and played 38 minutes without a turnover. He also snagged four rebounds and snatched two steals.
Roughly four of Peterson's assists came courtesy of teammate Justin Johnson lighting it up from the outside. The senior scored a game-high 21 points on 7 of 14 shooting from the floor (7 of 12 from beyond the arc). His seven treys ranks as the third highest total for a single game in Hawkeye history.
Iowa ran out to a 22-9 lead midway through the first half and never let the lead dip below 11 the rest of the way. The Bengals shot 1-14 from 3-point country in the first half and missed all six of their attempts in the second half. The visitors shot 32.7 percent from the floor in the game.
The pace definitely was to Iowa's liking. The half court, grind-it-out affair saw Iowa hold a 4-0 edge in fast break points.
Kurt Looby played well for Iowa, grabbing a game-best 10 rebounds and scoring six points on 3 of 5 shooting from the floor. Cyrus Tate snagged eight rebounds in 18 minutes as the Hawkeyes held a 39-28 advantage on the glass.
Here are some thoughts about the game from Johnson and Peterson:
How much did Jeff getting the ball to you help you get into the swing of things?
Jeff found me. He does a good job of driving the ball, staying poised with the ball. As a freshman, he does a good job of controlling the game. He did a good job of controlling the game tonight. Big ups to Jeff.
How big did the basket look there in the second half?
It looked the same. I just knew I had to follow through and make the shots.
Do you feel more pressure on you to shoot since Tony is out?
No, not really. We know we have to play as a team. If we play as a team, we know we‘ll do good on defense and offense.
How did you do defensively?
We feel we did well but we know that we can play better on defense.
Is this how you envisioned your role this season, kind of being that guy?
As coach says, we have to play as a team. If we see somebody has the open shot and making his shot, you try to find a way to get him the ball. At the same time, you still try to play defense and offense and stay poised.
You have to be pretty happy with the way that you played.
Just the turnovers, I feel very good about that. Coach Lickliter always stresses to take care of the ball. To have no turnovers, me as an individual, that feels very good.
Is the key to that finding Justin Johnson when he‘s hot like that?
Definitely, any time you have a shooter like JJ, you have to find him. He had seven 3-point field goals tonight, that‘s great.
Thirty eight minutes, how are the legs feeling?
A little tired but it‘s part of it. You just have to keep pushing through it, especially with Tony out right now. That‘s just hot it goes. Coach Lickliter always says sometimes curveballs are thrown at you, you just have to hit them.
You had 12 points at that half and you finished with 12. Did you view your role to be more of a distributer in the second half?
Not really. I still took shots. They just weren‘t falling. But JJ heated up in the second half, so I just tried to continue to find him.
What kind of confidence boost is this for you? Did you need this?
Somewhat. I‘m a poised type player. It‘s somewhat of a confidence boost, but I definitely know the job is not finished. We have a long way to go. It feels great winning the first game, but we still have, what, 40 more games.
-2009 verbal commit Brennan Cougill took in the game from behind the Hawkeye bench. The 6-9 junior plays for Sioux City Heelan. Mike Gatens, who will sign his LOI with Iowa next week, also watched from courtside.
-Cyrus Tate served as Iowa's sixth man on Friday. He checked in at the 14:36 mark for Seth Gorney. Jake Kelly also checked in at that time for Jeff Peterson. Peterson then substituted for Dan Bohall less than a minute later.
-Jarryd Cole saw his first action of the contest when he replaced Tate with 10:15 left in the half.
-Angle had to remind Jake Kelly to take up his warm-up jacket before checking in for his first time as a Hawkeye.
-The crowd was listed at 10,201 but probably was closer to the 8,000-9,000.