First unit shines, second unit struggles for Iowa


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Things were going well for the Iowa men’s basketball team in the first half of its 90-56 win over Hampton Nov. 14. Adam Woodbury hit a jumper, Jarrod Uthoff pulled the trigger and made a pair of 3-pointers, and Aaron White was presenting the problems he usually does for opposing teams.

Then head coach Fran McCaffery gradually cleared the bench and things changed. Peter Jok missed a field goal, followed by a pair of missed 3s from Josh Oglesby. Trey Dickerson missed a jumper, as did Dom Uhl and Gabe Olaseni.

Iowa’s lead diminished to 19-15, and McCaffery went back to his starters.

“Shot it quick four times in a row. And what I told the guys was each shot that those individuals took … they’re all good shots for them but not when they’re in a bunch and not when they all miss,” McCaffery said.

Those starters quickly steered the ship back onto the right course in the form of an 11-0 run. Led by White and Anthony Clemmons, the Hawkeyes extended their lead in less than 2:30 of game time.

It was encouraging to see, sure, but there was still lingering concern in the air.

Of course, it was less than a quarter into the team’s first game of the season, but it wasn’t the start all involved with the Hawkeyes wanted to see. Iowa is built on depth, so the start did set off a small alarm.

Part of it could have been inexperience. After all, Dickerson and Uhl are each in his first year of Division-I basketball.

There could have been jitters, Clemmons said, and the key to fixing these errors come with simplicity.

“I told them as we came out of the huddle in the second half, I talked to Dom and told him coach is asking to do one or two things, he isn’t asking to do five or six,” Clemmons said. “Stick to the one or two things he’s asking you to do.”

To his credit, Uhl did slow things down in the second half. Before the game got to garbage time, the freshman was more selective with his shots and went 1-of-2 from behind the arc.

Dickerson did, too. Albeit a small sample size, Dickerson has played at too quick of a pace in the team’s exhibition and opening contests. It’s something that makes sense — he’s perhaps the quickest player in Iowa’s lineup and has admittedly played too quick at times.

Dickerson and Uhl were just pieces to the bench’s slow start, but things aren’t going to get any easier for the duo in terms of their schedule.

After it plays North Dakota State tonight, Iowa will play at one of the, if not the, biggest stages in the United States — Madison Square Garden.

The second unit will surely have to figure things out in a quick manner. Iowa has little to no time until it faces Texas and either Syracuse or California. Those games will pose strong early season competition for the Hawkeyes’ second unit, which surely wants to improve after its performance in the opener.

“I think [Hampton] got the ball rolling,” Uthoff said. “I think we’re all looking forward to the season and the upcoming games.”

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