Jermain Davis and Devan Bawinkle, junior college transfers, combined for 28 points as the Hawkeyes rolled over intrastate rival Iowa State, 73-57, in front of an announced crowd of 12,125 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Davis and Bawinkle entered the contest averaging 7.6.
Davis has said all along that his role is being a defensive stopper. He expanded that on Friday, scoring Iowa's first eight points, including a breakaway dunk that kept the Hawkeye fans on their feet for most of the night.
"I just was playing defense and trying to give my team a spark," Davis said. "It's always fun to score. It just happened to be my night."
Said Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter: "He sure gave us a spark offensively. He's been playing well and it's fun to watch guys who don't get caught up in what their role is. They just want to contribute. I have a lot of confidence in Jermain."
Jeff Peterson played another outstanding game for Iowa. The sophomore point guard notched a game-high 17 points after matching a career-high with 19 in Tuesday's win against Northern Iowa. He did commit five turnovers, however, and Iowa had 12 as a team.
Davis' 16 points topped his season-high of 10 scored at Boston College. Bawinkle's 12 points matched his top night at Iowa. He posted the same number at B.C.
"That speaks so much about our team," Peterson said. "We have guys that on any given night can step up. It was evident tonight. I love playing with guys like that, who can contribute not only on the offensive end but on the defensive end as well."
Last season, the Iowa players struggled at times with the system in Lickliter's first season. Davis and Bawinkle have, at times, made the transition look seamless.
"The thing with them is that they work very hard in practice," Peterson said. "They come in extra. They watch a lot of film. It's not an easy system to pick up. You have to get used to it. You have to really study the system. But they've done a great job."
Cyrus Tate added 10 points and eight rebounds. But it was his work on the other end of the court that made him so valuable on Friday.
Tate delivered his second consecutive outstanding defensive effort. After shutting down Northern Iowa big man Jordan Eglseder on Tuesday, the Iowa senior muscled up on ISU big man Craig Brackins, who came into the night averaging 17 points a game. He returned to Ames after six on this night.
"I was trying to see how he would respond in the first half being physical with him," Tate said. "It seemed like he let up a bit and I just kept with it. I was just trying to make him more uncomfortable each time he got touches and trying my best not to let him touch the ball. He's a good player, but today we were just the better team."
When asked after the game what he thought about the Tate-Brackins match-up, Iowa State Coach Greg McDermott simply said, "I thought Tate manhandled him."
Tate picked up his third foul with about 13 minutes to play in the game. Jarryd Cole replaced him and continued to play physical against Brackins. Cole was tagged with his third foul three minutes later, and Andrew Brommer bodied up the Iowa State post.
"Cyrus Tate was very active in the post defensively and our guards helped appropriately," Lickliter said. "That was the reason we were able to extend the lead and hold it."
The Hawkeyes came out of the locker room with an 8-0 run to grab a 42-32 lead and forced the Cyclones Coach Greg McDermott to take a timeout at the 17:52 mark. Jake Kelly started with a three before dishing to Tate for a lay-up. Peterson then knocked down a three from the right corner.
Iowa State cut its deficit to eight points on its next possession, but that's as close as the visitors would get the rest of the way. Iowa extended its lead to 57-36 with 11:01 remaining in the game and the rout was on.
Iowa (9-2) continued its best start to a season since 2004-05, when it got out to a 12-1 beginning before finishing 21-12 and losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
A back-and-forth first half ended with Iowa clinging to a 34-32 lead at the break. Davis (13) and Bawinkle (9) combined for 22 of the Hawkeyes' points. The home team enjoyed a 17-12 advantage on the boards.
Iowa played for second game in a row without leading scorer Tucker, who was suspended indefinitely this week after being charged with public intoxication.
Lickliter again said after the game that he had no timetable for Tucker's return to the team.
Iowa prevented the Cyclones from winning back to back games in the series for the first time since 1993-94. The Hawkeyes knocked off Iowa State for the fourth straight time in Carver-Hawkeye and a 26-5 overall advantage in games played between the rivals in Iowa City.
"The way I see it, the more disciplined team won the game tonight," McDermott said. "When I look at the game of basketball, the more disciplined team deserves to win."
Iowa has a week off for finals and will return to the court on Dec. 20 when the Hawkeyes travel to Drake.