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Hawkeyes husk Nebraska, 74-46

BY JACOB SHEYKO | FEBRUARY 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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The first couple minutes of Iowa’s 74-46 thrashing of Nebraska in Lincoln on Sunday were a sign of things to come.

On four-consecutive possessions, Peter Jok hit a jumper off an Adam Woodbury screen, then Jarrod Uthoff hit another long 2 from the wing. Next possession, Aaron White hit a baseline jumper after an offensive rebound. Then Mike Gesell finished in the lane with a right-handed lay-up.

Iowa got pretty much any shot it wanted in its eighth Big Ten win this year, picking up another victory in its seesaw of a season. 

“It shows a lot about our team,” White said after the game. “I think, like I told you guys, we had a bad week, and then what we needed was to have a good week. We needed that. It wasn’t even a question.”

Offensively speaking, the best word to describe Iowa’s day would be efficient.

Iowa shot 50 percent from the field (29-of-58), 50 percent from 3-point range (5-of-10), and 84.6 percent from the free-throw line (11-13).

This efficiency led to an 18-5 lead for Iowa out of the gate, which later grew to a 36-16 lead, and then a 42-16 lead at halftime. At the time that was the largest deficit facing the Cornhuskers this season, which had never trailed by more than 24 points before Sunday.

Most of this was on the back of a 21-2 run for the Hawkeyes to close out the first half, in which Iowa made eight of its last nine shots, giving it the 26-point lead going into the break.

“[We] got some transition opportunities,” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “Moved the ball early. Got a lead. And then after that I thought our intelligence level with when we go quickly, when we work the ball [was good].

“And that’s the key. When you’re a running team, you’re a motion team. You don’t want to turn shots down, but you don’t want to hunt shots, either. And we just shared the basketball all day long. It was a thing of beauty.”

Defensively, Iowa was just as good, holding Nebraska to just 32.7 percent from the field and 11.1 percent from 3 (2-18), which accumulated to just 46 points for the entire game — the fewest Iowa has allowed in a Big Ten contest this season.

Mainly, Iowa made Nebraska’s two leading scorers — Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields, who average a combined 33.9 points per game — irrelevant. They combined for just 19 points on 6-of-21 shooting.

“I thought we were really locked in to our defensive game plan,” McCaffery said. “… If you’re going to win consistently in this league, especially on the road, then you better be locked in on the defense.”

Three Hawkeyes finished in double-figures. White led all scorers with 18 points and 11 rebounds, his second double-double of the year, and in the process, passed Devyn Marble for fifth on Iowa’s all-time scoring list (1,697 points).

Jok chipped in 14 points, finishing in double figures for the fifth time in the last six games. Uthoff added 11 points and 5 rebounds.

“Everyone was doing it,” White said. “It was all five [players], and that’s what makes it fun.”

For the Hawkeyes, it’s their second-straight win following a week that they lost two straight to Minnesota and Northwestern, which was preceded by a different two-win week.

And for a team that preaches looking at each game with a clean slate and remembering that nothing can be done to change past outcomes, Iowa now looks ahead to a matchup with Illinois on Wednesday.

“So we lost to two good teams that week,” McCaffery said. “And we beat two good teams this week. We got another really good team coming in here on Wednesday. That’s what this league is.”

It was a belief echoed by Iowa’s captain and the man who McCaffery said in the beginning of the year as this being “his team.”

“It’s a good win,” White said. “But the next step to that is not getting complacent.”

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


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