Hawkeye basketball unofficially began its season with a 87-65 win over Augustana


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The Iowa men’s basketball team kicked off its season Sunday, defeating Augustana in an exhibition game, 87-65.

The final score isn’t exactly correlative to how the game was played. Augustana was extremely competitive for a large portion of the game and put pressure on the Hawkeyes despite the obvious difference in talent between the two teams.

“I knew what we were going to get from this team the day we scheduled this game,” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “We got outplayed, and we won the game. We were substantially outplayed today by that team.

“And I think it’s exactly what our team needed today. I think we needed to get outfought, to get outplayed. We needed a team that was going to force us into some mistakes.”

As McCaffery said, the game was valuable for Iowa in a variety of ways. It was the fourth-year head coach’s first opportunity to see how his lineup rotation would work in true game speed.

Fresh faces such as Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok got experience wearing black and gold for the first time. And, the scrappy and hardworking players from Augustana gave Iowa a battle, something the team could use before the regular season begins.

“They [Augustana] don’t have the size and the depth, but they’re similar and you can see the similarities they had of the team’s we’re going to be playing in league and in nonconference,” senior guard Devyn Marble said. “We definitely needed it, definitely have a lot of things to work on.”

Sunday wasn’t Iowa’s best shooting performance. The Hawkeyes finished just 2-of-18 from 3-point range, a sign that they’ll need interior scoring to show up often this season.

In a lot of ways, the game was won on the free-throw line; Augustana committed 33 personal fouls, resulting in 50 free-throw attempts for Iowa.

Rule changes the NCAA made in theĀ  off-season that limit hand-checks and charging calls were evident during Sunday’s tilt. Iowa forward Aaron White wasn’t particularly pleased with the way the game was called, despite the fact that it worked in the Hawkeyes’ favor for much of the game.

“I don’t know whether there will always be as many fouls as there were tonight,” White said. “One of two things will happen. Either the teams will adjust or the refs won’t be able to call it like that, because you can’t really call that many fouls as the season goes on.”

As far as the performances of Iowa players, White and forward Zach McCabe were particularly impressive.

McCabe displayed excellent positioning and effort in the paint, finishing with 16 points and 8 rebounds despite playing just 17 minutes.

White was extremely aggressive offensively. The Strongsville, Ohio, native attacked the rim relentlessly, which resulted in several easy baskets and trips to the free-throw line. He and McCabe tied for the team lead in points with 16 each.

Iowa will officially begin its season Friday, when North Carolina-Wilmington will visit Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

It’s clear the Hawkeyes will look to the Augustana exhibition as proof this team has a long way to go before it reaches its potential. And players, much like McCaffery, know their 22-point victory Sunday wasn’t impressive, no matter how it may look on paper.

“We have to crash the offensive glass a little harder,” Marble said. “And the overall energy, I think defensively, we kind of executed the way we wanted to as far as pushing their offense towards the half-court line, making them operate further from the basket, but they got too many offensive rebounds.

“We just have to continue playing and getting these things.”

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