Hawks Fall Short Against Missouri

In their final tune up before the Big Ten part of their schedule begins, the Iowa Hawkeyes battled, scraped, clawed and gave the 16th ranked Missouri Tigers everything they could handle in an 88-82 loss Saturday in front of 14,582 rowdy fans.

Iowa (8-3) took an early one-point lead at 8-7 on a basket inside by senior guard Chauncey Leslie with 15:57 left in the first half. From that point on in the game it would be back in forth with both teams battling it out like a heavyweight championship fight.

With the Hawkeyes trailing by six points at 31-25 with 7:50 to go in the half, Iowa head coach Steve Alford received a technical foul when he questioned an official's call. Missouri junior guard Ricky Clemons made both free throws to increase the Tigers lead to 33-25, however that technical foul seemed to wake up the crowd as well as the Hawkeyes.

Iowa would use a 24-15 run over the final 7:50 to take a one-point lead into the locker room at halftime 49-48. Junior guard Brody Boyd and junior forward Sean Sonderleiter fueled that big run with Boyd's three long bombs from three point land and Sonderleiter finishing tough down low inside.

Leslie led a well-balanced scoring attack for the Hawkeyes in the first half, as he scored 11 points, while Sonderleiter chipped in with 10 hard-nosed points. Boyd accounted for 9 points, and junior forward Glen Worley added 8 points.

Iowa, which has put a major emphasis on cutting down on their turnovers, had only three after the first twenty minutes of play. Second chance points however hurt the Hawkeyes as Missouri accounted for eight points on six offensive boards.

Both teams continued to duke it out in the beginning of the second half, and Missouri held a slim two-point lead at 57-55 with 14:46 remaining in the game.

Missouri junior guard Ricky Clemons capped off a 10-5 Tiger run when he connected on one of his six three pointers with 12:10 remaining in the game, giving Missouri their largest lead at 67-60. After an Iowa timeout, the Hawkeyes mixed up their defense and switched to zone, which seem to affect the Tigers.

With the Tigers holding onto a 67-62 lead with 11:09 remaining, Missouri's head coach Quinn Snyder received a technical foul when he questioned an official about his no call when he thought Clemons was fouled on a shot. Leslie calmly made both free throws to draw Iowa within three points at 67-64. On Iowa's next possession, junior forward Jared Reiner put back a Worley missed shot drawing Iowa within one at 67-66 with 10:31 left.

From that point on, the game was nip and tuck, as Missouri was unable to shake the Hawkeyes until the final minute of the game.

Iowa's zone defense, which had held the Tigers in check with just 13 points in almost 11 minutes of play had paid off as Iowa drew within two points of Missouri at 80-78 with 1:51 remaining, when Reiner made two free throws.

However on Missouri's next possession, the Tigers seemed to receive answer when Clemons threw up a prayer with the shot clock winding down and banked in a 22 foot three pointer with 1:18 remaining in the game putting the Tigers up 83-78.

That three point shot from Clemons was the one that seemed to break the Hawkeyes back, as they were never able to get any closer in the final minute of play and fell to the Tigers 88-82.

Although the Hawkeyes post players were undersized, and trying to survive foul trouble they still managed to outscore the Tigers in the paint 36-32. However two stats stood out in the final stats. First being the Tigers out rebounded the Hawkeyes 41-35, and scored 17 second chance points. Although the Hawkeyes tied a season low with only nine turnovers, Missouri managed to capitalize and scored 14 points off of those nine Iowa turnovers.

Leslie led five Hawkeye players in double figures with 19 points. Sonderleiter finished with a career high 15 points on 5 of 7 shooting from the floor. Worley and Boyd both finished with 13 points, and Reiner added 10 points. The freshmen duo of Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner finished with seven and five points respectively. Brunner led Iowa in rebounding with a career high nine rebounds, while Horner also set a career high with seven assists.

Iowa, which finished their non-conference part of their season at 8-3, will now open their Big Ten schedule on Wednesday January 8th, as they travel to Evanston, IL to face the Northwestern Wildcats.

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