Liberty Provides Hawkeye Victory

The Iowa Hawkeyes gave their fans an early Christmas present Sunday afternoon, as they defeated the Liberty Flames 87-49 for their seventh victory in nine opportunities this season.

Iowa used a 10-0 run early in the first half to assume a lead that they would never relinquish. The Hawkeyes continued to put it on the Flames in the first half and at the 5:25 mark they took their largest lead at 29-19 on an alley oop from freshman point guard Jeff Horner to freshman forward Greg Brunner. Iowa would take a comfortable eight point lead at 38-30 into the locker room at halftime.

Horner and junior guard Brody Boyd both led the Hawkeyes in scoring at the break with eight points. Boyd was able to connect on two out of five three point attempts in the first half. Iowa who had been plagued by turnovers on the season, only committed seven during the first twenty minutes of play.

Bench scoring had also been a major concern of the Hawkeyes, however with Boyd's eight points and junior center Sean Sonderleiter's four points in the first half combined for Iowa's 12 bench points in the first half.

As the second half began, Iowa began to really assert themselves, and when Brunner drained a twelve foot jumper from the baseline he capped off a 10-2 Iowa run in the first four minutes of the second half to give Iowa a 16 point lead at 48-32 lead.

Liberty was not ready to back down as they continued to scrap, however the Hawkeyes just had too much fire power for the Flames to contend with.

With 10:31 remaining in the game, junior center Jared Reiner hit Boyd on a backdoor pass, who converted the lay up and was fouled on the play. After the made free throw, Iowa's lead increased to 58-39. Seconds later senior guard Chauncey Leslie stole the ball and sped to an easy basket giving Iowa a 60-39 lead. The 14-5 Iowa run was capped off by Sonderleiter when he banked an eight foot jumper in from the left wing giving Iowa its largest lead.

However Liberty had one last gasp in them, as they used a 5-0 run over the next minute and a half to draw within 62-44. Iowa finally had enough of the Flames and used a 27-5 run over the final eight and a half minutes of the game to win the game in convincing fashion 89-47.

A balanced scoring attack fueled Iowa in their seventh victory of the season, as five players led by Leslie's 18 point finished in double figures for the Hawkeyes. Junior forward Glen Worley finish with 15 points, and Boyd finished with a season high 13 points. Sonderleiter, who had a career high 11 points in their loss to Iowa State, topped that by one point, as he finished with 12. Horner and Reiner both rounded out the players in double figures with 10 points a piece.

Iowa also topped their season high in points, as they had scored 84 in their victory over Tennessee State back on November 30th. The Hawkeyes also had their best half of the season, as they outscored the Flames by 30 points 49-19.

Iowa now has two non conference games remaining before they head into Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes will celebrate Christmas with their families, and then return to action on the 28th, as they head to Tulsa, OK to take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes. Iowa will then return home and host Missouri on January 4th in their final tune up before conference play.

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