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Home cooking fuels Hawks

Iowa+forward+Cordell+Pemsl+reacts+after+grabbing+a+rebound+with+seconds+remaining+during+a+men%27s+basketball+game+in+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Thursday%2C+Jan.+12%2C+2017.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Boilermakers%2C+83-78.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FJoseph+Cress%29
Iowa forward Cordell Pemsl reacts after grabbing a rebound with seconds remaining during a men's basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers, 83-78. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

Iowa forward Cordell Pemsl reacts after grabbing a rebound with seconds remaining during a men's basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers, 83-78. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

Iowa forward Cordell Pemsl reacts after grabbing a rebound with seconds remaining during a men's basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers, 83-78. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)


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By Adam Hensley

[email protected]

 

Home-court advantage is a real thing in college basketball,

especially during conference play — just ask the Hawkeye basketball

team.

When Carver is rocking, so are the Hawkeyes.

Iowa is 3-0 in the Big Ten playing at home but an abysmal 0-3 when

playing on the road.

 

Wins against Rutgers, a competitive Michigan team, and heavyweight

 

Purdue gave Iowa fans reason for optimism. The good, quality wins

weren’t easy; they came in the form of shootouts or comebacks.

At home in Big Ten play, Iowa averages 79 points per contest, shoots

a hair over 49 percent from the field, and knocks down 3-pointers at a

43.3 percent clip.

 

“I think everybody plays better at home,” head coach Fran McCaffery

said. “I don’t think it’s anything more than that. The numbers bear

that out.”

 

Peter Jok, Iowa’s go-to scorer, nets 24 points per game while playing

at home. In Iowa’s home game against Purdue, the senior scored 29

points and was on fire from downtown, hitting 4-of-7 3-point shots to

rally from a 9-point deficit.

 

Ball movement and security also thrive when games are played in

Carver — Iowa dishes out 17.6 assists and only commits a little more

than 12 turnovers.

 

“We’ve had some good road teams here, and we’ve played well at home,”

McCaffery said. “Our best wins have been at home, obviously. So

hopefully, we’ll play well again.”

 

All season long, defense has been a deal breaker for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa has played in six games so far in which both teams have scored

more than 80 points. Two of those games were in conference play, both

at home.

 

McCaffery credits the hot shooting to familiarity.

 

“Yeah, familiarity with your pregame routine, the baskets, the floor,

the ball,” he said. “As you know, the ball changes, so that affects

people sometimes. They’re all pretty much the same, but just every

little thing adds up.”

 

Defense at home has been shaky at times, but the Hawkeyes have gotten

the job done, especially in the conference schedule. Big Ten opponents

average 74.3 points per game in Carver, shoot 42.5-percent, and hit

their 3-pointers at a 34.6 percent rate.

 

Playing on the road, however, is a different story.

 

Purdue, Nebraska, and Northwestern ripped the Hawkeye defense to

shreds. Those three teams put up an average of 90.3 points a game,

making more than half their shots (not to mention 43.4 percent of

their 3-pointers) and dishing out an average of 24.6 assists.

 

The attack has come in many forms against the Hawkeyes. At Purdue,

four Boilermakers scored at least 15 points. Nebraska’s Glynn Watson

and Tai Webster scored 34 and 23 points, respectively. In Iowa’s

latest road loss to Northwestern, Scottie Lindsey scored 22 points,

and teammate Bryant McIntosh netted 20.

 

Shots just haven’t been falling away from Carver.

 

Example A: Jok scored 4 points against Northwestern.

 

“[Teams] top-block him, and get physical with him, and rotate guys on

him,” McCaffery said. “So other people have to just step up.”

The Hawkeyes only make a lackluster 39.4 percent of their shots from

the field on the road. Three-pointers (26.9 percent) and assists (13

per game) drop at an even worse rate, while turnovers (15.6 per game)

rise.

 

The Hawkeyes are 10-2 when playing at home this season, averaging 88

points per game. They have yet to win a true road game (not counting

Iowa’s two losses in the Emerald Coast Classic, a neutral site).

 

Iowa hasn’t been able to match scoring when on the road, especially

with a porous defense allowing easy buckets. Opponents average more

than 90 points while playing Iowa on their own courts.

Unfortunately for Iowa, not every game can be played at home.

Iowa hasn’t traveled well this season, and it needs to in order to

make a run in the Big Ten standings.

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