Fairleigh Dickinson had beaten Rutgers and Seton Hall this year. One can either wonder a) How that happened or b) Is Iowa really THAT good? The Hawkeyes dispatched the Knights 92-59 after falling behind 6-0. A 19-0 run erased that deficit, led mostly by Iowa’s second unit, and the rout was on.
Iowa had three players with double-doubles tonight versus Farleigh Dickinson: Melsahn Basabe (12 points and 11 rebounds); Gabriel Olaseni (14 points and 10 rebounds); Jarrod Uthoff (10 points and 10 rebounds). The last time an Iowa team had three players post double-doubles in the same game was against Penn State on March 7, 2009 in a double overtime contest: Cyrus Tate (15 points and 10 rebounds); Jake Kelly (22 points and 11 assists); Jarryd Cole (14 points and 11 rebounds).
The last time Iowa had three players post double-doubles in points and rebounds was against UC-Irvine on Dec. 29, 1993: Jess Settles (21 points and 11 rebounds); Jim Bartels (10 points and 12 rebounds); Russ Millard (12 points and 11 rebounds). Iowa’s 54 rebounds ties for the fifth highest rebound total under McCaffery.
The Hawkeyes are putting up big time numbers this year, averaging 89.5 points per game through 11 contests. Iowa has scored 82+ points in all but one game this season. These are impressive numbers considering Iowa is now one-third of the way through the season (31 regular season games, minimum one Big Ten tournament game and likely minimum one post season tournament game).
FD isn’t going to help anyone’s resume; they dropped Iowa’s strength of schedule from the 260’s back down to 297. Iowa’s game at Iowa State on Friday night? Yeah, that’s a resume builder. While Iowa is going to have several opportunities to prove itself on the road this year against great competition, that journey begins in Iowa State. This might be Fred Hoiberg’s best Iowa State team, or at least the team he has playing best this early in the season. Past ISU teams under Hoiberg have struggled to find chemistry early on and have only gotten better as the season unfolded. This crew is playing well off the top, so a great team and even better environment awaits Iowa on Friday.
For all of the ribbing I shoot Iowa State fan’s way, Hilton Coliseum is one of the best basketball environments in the sport. Carver Hawkeye Arena can get thunderous, especially during NIT games. Hilton Coliseum is most always like a CHA NIT game and it will probably be cranked up to 11 on Friday as this is the first time the two teams will play one another as ranked foes since 1987…The Lafester game.
Q. Melsahn came out with good energy in back‑to‑back games.
COACH McCAFFERY: He’s obviously capable. But when he’s playing with energy like that, it makes a big difference in our team.
Q. (Question regarding the press and the trap.)
COACH McCAFFERY: They were getting a little comfortable. Got them a little bit sideways. Got a couple turnovers, a couple run‑outs in that 19‑0 run.
Q. Mel and Zach seemed to bring the toughness to the interior there.
COACH McCAFFERY: Yeah, that and experience, maturity, knowing what we need at any particular time. I think they both understand.
Q. (Question regarding the bench.)
COACH McCAFFERY: Yeah, the bench has been great. We got the break going. We threw it ahead. We really attacked their three‑quarter court pressure with great success.
A lot of the game Greg played a smaller lineup, so we dominated the glasses. But we should have dominated the glass, especially when Gillette got hurt, their best big guy.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH McCAFFERY: Not uncommon for our team. That’s the type of thing that can happen with the way those guys shoot the ball.
Zach, Jarrod for sure. They’re two of our top‑four scorers. You can see it coming with Gabe. Every game he seems to get better.
Q. Gabe, is his overall offensive game taking the next step?
COACH McCAFFERY: You can see how much more comfortable he is. Even when he got the ball ripped and drove it from the foul line, which wasn’t a great play, it just goes to show you where his mindset is. He wouldn’t have made that play last year or the year before.
He just took it. He’s trying to drive through what is essentially a matchup zone. Didn’t score. But I love his aggressiveness and the confidence he has in himself right now.
Q. At the beginning of the year you were talking about how you were thinking about playing Gabe and Adam together. You did tonight.
COACH McCAFFERY: I just wanted to give Adam more minutes, that’s all. Nothing more to it than that.
Q. (Question regarding Peter Jok.)
COACH McCAFFERY: I thought he was playing well. He didn’t seem to be tired, so I just left him in, yeah.
Q. Does a game like this help you for the preparation for Iowa State?
COACH McCAFFERY: I think every game helps you. But for us getting back late after the Drake game, having the lock‑in yesterday, it’s kind of been that all year for us. Short preps, stay focused.
I think the approach has been very mature.
Q. Do you like short preps?
COACH McCAFFERY: I’m okay either way. You don’t like short preps when you don’t think your team can handle short preps, okay? But these guys can. They’ve been through it. They’re smart. They’re experienced. They’re able to process the information quickly if they have to.
Q. Peter looks like he’s a little bit more under control on offense. Four assists tonight. Are you trying to get him to take good shots, not shots all the time?
COACH McCAFFERY: The funny thing with him is, he doesn’t take a lot of real bad shots. Occasionally he’ll take contested. But he gets it off quick. He’s got the green light.
But tonight I thought he really made great decisions when to shoot it, when to drive it, when to move it on, when to load up one of his teammates. He was really good tonight, playing with a lot of confidence, I thought.
Q. About a third of the way through the season. Pleased so far with the progress?
COACH McCAFFERY: Yeah, very pleased with where we are. Still got a lot of work to do.
Q. What are your initial thoughts about Friday? Big game for the state.
COACH McCAFFERY: I think the thing about Iowa State that impressed me Saturday was that comeback. Any time a team comes back, you say, Wow, that was impressive. To me it was the way they did it. When you’re down 18 with less than 16 to go, that is often panic time. They didn’t panic at all.
They shared the ball. They defended. They got one stop, one bucket at a time. They have an experienced team, and they showed it.
Young guys that they did play played intelligently. It’s a team with a lot of weapons. You can see that. They’ve got athletes. They’ve got shooters. They can beat you in a lot of different ways.
It’s going to be a great atmosphere, a great environment, and we’ll be ready.