Hawkeyes pick up 4th straight win
By MARCUS TRAXLER
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — It will be listed as a neutral site game in the record books, but Iowa took full advantage of the heavily partisan crowd in their favor Friday.
The Hawkeyes shot 58 percent in the second half to pull away from Colorado late and beat the Buffs 80-73 at the Sanford Pentagon Friday.
Playing 10 miles from its own state borders, Iowa (8-6) trailed 51-48 with under 12 minutes to play, but Cordell Pemsl converted a key bucket and Dailey knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer — one of only three converted in the game for Iowa — to put the Hawkeyes in front for good 53-51 with 10:35 left.
For a Hawkeye team that has struggled early in the season, it was another good sign for coach Fran McCaffery’s team not panicking. The win marks four straight for Iowa, after starting the season with six losses in the first 10 games.
“We couldn’t play any worse and we were down four,” McCaffery said of a Colorado run early in the second half. “Whenever you have a lead and you give it up again, you have to fight through it.”
With a starting lineup of a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors, McCaffery said his team grew up, led by the efforts of Isaiah Moss and sixth man Maishe Dailey, who each scored 16 points for Iowa.
Five Hawkeyes were in double figures, with Jordan Bohannon adding 13 points, while Nicholas Baer and Tyler Cook each had 12 points with Pemsl adding 10 points. Iowa controlled the glass for the entire game, finishing with a 43-31 edge. The Hawkeyes also took advantage of a big edge at the free throw line, converting 25-of-36 attempts, while Colorado was held to 9 of 17 at the line.
Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle said his team lost the game with its second-half defense and inability to rebound.
“Our defense really got a little soft, especially when they made a run. We just didn’t get stops and we didn’t do a very good job of handling their zone.”
Iowa built a 27-16 lead in the first 12 minutes, thanks in large part to Moss’ 11 points before the break. But the Buffaloes mounted a 14-2 run slowly before halftime, capped with Namon Wright’s lay-up to give Colorado its first lead at 30-29 with 1:29 ahead of the intermission. Dailey’s 3-pointer with 25 seconds left gave Iowa a 32-31 halftime edge.
McKinley Wright scored a game-high 21 points to lead four scorers in double-figures for Colorado (8-4). Dallas Walton had a career-high 13 points and Namon Wright had 12.
Colorado: The Buffaloes received a strong performance from Wright, who has now made it 12 straight games with at least 10 points to open his career. But Colorado will wrap up its non-conference with some frustration, having lost four of its last six games.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes are now 8-0 in games in which they’ve scored at least 80 points and Iowa hit the magic number, despite a rough shooting night from the outside. But a tough effort inside from the likes of Moss and Cook helped do the job.
HAVEN’T SEEN THAT BEFORE
An odd scene took place with 4:45 remaining in the game, as the Buffaloes’ Tyler Bey was at the free-throw line, with the Hawkeyes up 67-61. Bey’s second free throw bounced wildly to the bench area, where Colorado assistant coach Kim English was bending over to pick up a water bottle that had rolled away from the bench. The ricochet from the free throw hit English, leaving the players on the court confused. After a conference from the officials, a technical foul was issued to the Colorado bench and the play led to a Bohannon free throw, which was missed.
Colorado: The Buffaloes will proceed to Pac-12 Conference play, playing at Oregon State on Dec. 29.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes return home to play Northern Illinois Dec. 29 to close the non-conference slate.