Hawkeyes put away North Dakota State, 87-56


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There was a period in the Iowa-North Dakota State matchup in which the two teams matched each other basket for basket. It was a brief moment.

Soon enough, traded baskets gave way to Iowa 3-pointers and defensive prowess as the Hawkeyes defeated the Bison Monday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 87-56.

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job these two games of locking into the game plan,” head coach Fran McCaffery said after the game. “These two teams [Hampton and North Dakota State] that we beat by substantial numbers I think are good teams, and I think teams that ultimately in their conference are going to be very successful.”

As they did in their season-opener against Hampton, the Hawkeyes came out of the gate strong against North Dakota State. Utilizing its continually impressive starting lineup of Mike Gesell, Anthony Clemmons, Jarrod Uthoff, Aaron White, and Adam Woodbury, Iowa jumped out to an 11-4 lead.

With Clemmons and Gesell creating havoc for the opposing guards, Iowa benefited from 16 first-half points off Bison turnovers.

“I thought we looked good defensively,” White said. “I think we’ve been doing really well communicating, playing good team defense … I thought we stayed locked in for the whole possession.”

With 5:43 remaining in the first half, Iowa led by just 7 points, but that soon changed.

Iowa finished the half on a 12-2 run, then stretched that run into the second half, extending it to a 27-2 sequence that left Iowa with a 58-26 lead with 14:30 remaining.

While every run needs offense, Iowa did most of its damage on the defensive side of the ball, holding North Dakota State without a second-half field goal until nearly six full minutes had elapsed.

The Bison didn’t reach double-digit points for the second half until nine minutes remained.

Eventually, Iowa built a large enough lead to give some additional playing time to the Hawkeyes bench, although White and others were put in for a brief period to get more of a “run,” as McCaffery put it, in.

Extra playing time for the second unit led to some sloppy play — Iowa committed 18 turnovers, 13 of which were in the second half, but McCaffery was more pleased with how Iowa obtained the lead rather than its lackluster play after that.

“Obviously disappointed at the sloppy ending, but when you take care of business and you’re up by that many, I guess I shouldn’t worry about it too much,” he said.

Utilizing a size advantage and leading Iowa offensively was the duo of Adam Woodbury and Gabe Olaseni, who combined for 24 points (9-of-12 from the field) and 22 rebounds.

This, combined with the outside presence of Iowa’s shooters — the Hawkeyes shot 45 percent from 3-point land — led to a 44-point, 56.5 percent shooting performance from Iowa in the second half.

“I think the great thing about our team is the spacing that’s created when guys like Peter [Jok], Jarrod [Uthoff], Josh [Oglesby] are out on the floor with a big guy,” Olaseni said. “I was open because they couldn’t help off the 3-point shooters, and a lot of times, they were open because guys are helping on me.”

Through it all, Iowa stands where it expected to be at this point in the season. The Hawkeyes are 2-0 with their first real test of the season upcoming against No. 10 Texas on Thursday.

“Both good, both deep,” North Dakota State head coach David Richman said when asked to compare Iowa and Texas, both of which the Bison have played. “Both talented. It’s going to be a good game. I’m looking forward to seeing the result.”

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

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