The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Sioux Falls falls in Hawks’ open

Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff looks for an open player during the Iowa-Northern Illinois game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. The Hawkeyes defeated the Huskies, 70-49. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

The Hawkeyes hit the accelerator after the half and didn’t look back, at times showcasing their young talent, at others allowing the starters to take over in their 99-73 victory over Sioux Falls on Thursday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffrey said his team didn’t look sharp to start, to the tune of 12 turnovers in the first half. Although it took time to get in motion, point guard Mike Gesell took over the game to start the second half.

“The way he came back and was that aggressive … I couldn’t be more proud of him,” McCaffrey said.

Up just 6 points at the half, 46-40, McCaffery put the starters back in, and they quickly jumped out to a 60-46 lead, thanks in large part to junior Peter Jok’s 18 points, Gesell’s 24 points, and Jarrod Uthoff’s 13 points.

When the lead got comfortable, McCaffery used the bench and showcased young talent, with true freshman Andrew Fleming and redshirt freshman Brady Ellingson seeing the most time at 14 minutes, and 13 minutes, respectively.

Although those two saw the most court time, McCaffrey was most impressed with redshirt freshman Nicholas Baer, who played 12 minutes and scored 8 points and posted 5 rebounds.

“We need guys who are going to be in the right place, defensively, offensively,” the head coach said. “A lot of guys can physically play five positions, but they can’t mentally play five positions.

“He can play 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.”

Baer attributed the success, albeit very early success, to his redshirt season a year ago.

“Last time being on the court at Carver in a game was last exhibition game [last year],” Baer said. “I feel really comfortable … I think it’s been really helpful to have an extra year under my belt.

The other newcomers had no such luxury. With the game squarely locked away, and even before then, the Hawkeyes took advantage of what could — strong emphasis on could — become a very deep bench. Nine bench players saw action Thursday night.

Freshman Ahmad Wagner said he had no butterflies coming into the game.

“Not at all, I was just happy to be out there,” Wagner said.

Jok, however, saw the game slightly different.

“They were a little nervous … but they’ll be good,” Jok said. “We haven’t played anybody else in so long, it was weird.”

Those nerves appeared on the score sheet, where the Hawkeye bench scored only 27 of the team’s 99 points. Give credit to the Cougars, who capitalized on the inexperience of the bench, but the day ultimately belonged to the Hawkeye starters.

Uthoff, who will perhaps be the star this season, had nothing but praise for the young guns.

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