The Iowa basketball team beat Penn 86-55 on Friday night and looked somewhat sloppy in the 31-point win. It’s nice to see the program back in the position where they can have a so-so night and still win big.
Iowa won its first five non-conference games by an average of 38 points. That’s better than I felt they would do and also includes an eight-point win mixed in.
The price of poker is about to go up as Iowa will meet Xavier on Thursday (Thanksgiving) at 6PM.
Jarrod Uthoff paced Iowa on Friday night with 19 points and four rebounds in 21 minutes. He had 19 points in 19 minutes on just seven shot attempts, so you might say it was an efficient night for the sophomore who set a career high in scoring. He also had a baseline drive where he got UP:
The sky is the limit for Uthoff…yeah, I know that is cliche but the more I watch him play the harder it is for me to find players from Iowa’s past who he reminds me of. He has some Ryan Bowen and Chris Street mixed in there, though he’s not as physical as Street was. He’s a better ball handler than either of those two and he is going to be a near impossible matchup next year and beyond.
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Dev Marble had 13 points in 26 minutes and a career best six steals. He was 4-13 from the floor and was frustrated by Penn’s zone in the first half and began forcing some shots. Mike Gesell scored seven of Iowa’s first 10 points and finished with 10 total, including two three-point baskets. Iowa got six points and eight boards out of Adam Woodbury and eight points, six boards and three blocks from Gabe Olaseni. So in 37 minutes of play, Iowa got 14 points, 14 boards and three blocks from its center position. You’ll take it.
Iowa forced a season high 25 turnovers and has scored over 80 points in each of its first five games for the 4th time in school history (also 1986-87, 1994-95 & 1997-98).
For the season, Iowa has eight players averaging over seven points per game out of their 10-man rotation. The two players who are below that? Woodbury and Gesell and I doubt anyone would have taken that wager to start the year. Gesell is still trying to find some confidence and Woodbury is trying to find his way.
The great news about this team is that there is enough talent there to pick up a teammate (or two) when he is having an off night. Aaron White never got into the flow of this game (I don’t like him in the three role against a zone) and Uthoff stepped up and picked up his teammate, as he has a skill set more suitable for success against the zone.
It’s going to be a fun season and I think Iowa drew a lot from these early games….but the march towards the Big Ten meat grinder begins on Thursday when Xavier is the opponent. It’s about time for some honest to goodness hoops.