Sluggish start, big surge


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In the first half of Iowa’s win over Northwood on Sunday, the Hawkeyes didn’t look their sharpest.

There was sloppy defense at times, and Iowa committed 11 turnovers.

Things never looked too bleak, but it wasn’t the type of fast start a team would like against a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics team. After the Hawkeyes shook off the rust, however, any worry went out the window, resulting in a 92-51 win.

Iowa’s spark didn’t come from the starting unit but rather the team’s bench. After that burst came, there was no looking back.

“I mean, [head coach Fran McCaffery] always tells us to bring energy of the bench, and I think that’s what we did,” forward Dom Uhl said. “And to kind of bring speed to the game, too.”

Led by Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok on the offensive end and Anthony Clemmons defensively, Iowa stepped on the gas pedal right after the intermission, going on an 18-2 run to begin the period. Even more, Northwood didn’t convert a field goal until the 12:11 mark of the second frame, giving Iowa separation and the game’s control.

Uthoff finished with 15 points, 6 of which came before halftime, and Jok had 11 of his 16 after halftime.

“Coming into the second half, we needed to bring more intensity, and bring more intensity on the offensive end,” Uthoff said. “I wanted to attack more.”

Attack he did. He didn’t seem hesitant as he did at certain points last season, and he began to show some of the results he spoke of in the off-season.

On the defensive end, Uthoff had 2 steals and 2 blocks, but as mentioned, Clemmons stole the show. He started the game and finished with a team-high 4 steals, which McCaffery said was a testament to his ability to stay healthy in practice and because of his defensive prowess.

“Get after it on defense, and let everything else fall in place,” he said. “… What really separates me is getting after it on defense, getting those steals, and getting our break going.”

Despite committing 4 fouls and only playing 17 minutes, Jok’s 6-of-9 performance from the floor, including 2-of-2 from beyond the 3-point arc, has to be encouraging for McCaffery, who knows of the potential Jok has.

The trio’s performance was a large factor in Iowa’s win Sunday, and even though it was against a small-school team, it did what it was supposed to, even if it didn’t get things going right out of the gate.

From now until Nov. 14, when Iowa opens its season against Hampton, the team will have to work on tightening things up on both sides of the ball and finding a way to get production out of the 10 or 11 players it is expected to use on a regular basis.

“I wasn’t really excited about the energy of the first unit to start the game,” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “… I think we softened a little bit defensively, and that’s the challenge of this team.

We don’t soften at all, and that was evident in the second half. “

Follow @dannyapayne on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s basketball team.

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