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The Box Score: Inside Iowa basketball statistics

BY JACOB SHEYKO | JANUARY 22, 2015 5:00 AM

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Six games into the Big Ten season, and Iowa has defeated a ranked team on the road, blown a sizable halftime lead to a team it has only defeated one time during head coach Fran McCaffery’s tenure, suffered a deflating loss to one of the nation’s premier teams, and been tied for first in the conference for a brief period.

All in all, it’s been a chaotic and fairly successful near-first month of the season, making it as good of a time as ever to look at the numbers that carried Iowa to this point.

Iowa’s record when making 15 or fewer free throws — 3-5

It’s pretty evident Iowa’s biggest offensive strength is its ability to get to the line, and more importantly, convert free throws.

The Hawkeyes’ 432 free-throw attempts ranks 44th in the nation — during conference play, they are second in the Big Ten in this category.

However, Iowa has converted these attempts at a clip matched by few teams. Of its 432 attempts, the Hawkeyes have made 75 percent, giving them the seventh-most made free throws in the nation.

At the heart of this is forward Aaron White, who gets the line 7.8 times per game and ranks fifth nationally in total free-throw attempts.

That said, when Iowa doesn’t get to the line, or at least doesn’t convert, its offense can be lacking. Five of its six losses this season have come when Iowa has made 15 or fewer free throws, including its latest loss, a 82-50 dismantlement at the hands of No. 6 Wisconsin, where Iowa shot just 4-of-10 from the free-throw line.

Bottom line: When Iowa gets to the free-throw line, it’s one of the best teams in the Big Ten. When it’s not, the Hawkeyes are middle of the pack.

Opponent’s 3-point percentage in the last four games — 45 percent

For the most part, particularly in nonconference play, Iowa has done a good job of keeping teams off the 3-point line.

However, in the last four games (Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Wisconsin), the long ball has torched Iowa.

In defense of the Hawkeyes, their last four opponents are shooting a combined 38.3 percent from deep this season, but allowing them to shoot 37-of-82 is hardly a recipe for success.

Not so surprisingly, in the last four games, Iowa has allowed an average of 74.8 points per game, an increase of about 5 points per game from its season average.

This comes as a bit of a surprise from a team with guards such as Anthony Clemmons and Mike Gesell patrolling the perimeter, however in some cases — as it was against Wisconsin — it was Iowa’s defensive rotations that allowed for the open 3 rather than anything happening on the ball.

Peter Jok’s scoring average since joining starting lineup — 7.7 points per game

When Peter Jok was placed in the starting lineup, Iowa was coming off a 44-point performance against Northern Iowa.

The Hawkeyes needed a spark, so McCaffery turned to Jok hoping he would provide it. So far, he has.

While Jok has struggled with efficiency — he’s shooting 34.6 percent from the floor, he’s scoring 7.7 points per game, and Iowa’ offense — excluding the Wisconsin game — has looked much more fluid.

One of the main strengths Jok brings to Iowa’s starting lineup is the ability to space the floor more.

He’s shooting 36.3 percent from 3 since joining the starting lineup and freeing up space down low for Iowa’s big men in the process.

The sophomore has also improved on the defensive side of the ball, creating a little more than a steal per game for the Hawkeyes, although steals are hardly the definitive defensive statistic.

However, perhaps the most important statistic for Iowa is that since Jok joined the starting lineup, the Hawkeyes are 5-2, with their two losses occurring against teams that combine for a 29-8 record.


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