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Cook puts it all together despite loss to Wisconsin

Even though the Hawkeyes failed to keep their undefeated record intact against the Badgers, Tyler Cook posted one of his best performances of the season.

Iowa+forward+Tyler+Cook+shoots+the+ball+during+Iowa%27s+game+against+Wisconsin+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+November+30%2C+2018.+The+Hawkeyes+were+defeated+by+the+Badgers%2C+72-66.%28Megan+Nagorzanski%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
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Cook puts it all together despite loss to Wisconsin

Iowa forward Tyler Cook shoots the ball during Iowa's game against Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on November 30, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Badgers, 72-66.(Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa forward Tyler Cook shoots the ball during Iowa's game against Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on November 30, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Badgers, 72-66.(Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

Megan Nagorzanski

Iowa forward Tyler Cook shoots the ball during Iowa's game against Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on November 30, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Badgers, 72-66.(Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

Megan Nagorzanski

Megan Nagorzanski

Iowa forward Tyler Cook shoots the ball during Iowa's game against Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on November 30, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Badgers, 72-66.(Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)


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Tyler Cook didn’t have to try hard to get the largest Carver-Hawkeye crowd of the season to get up on their feet and erupt.

Less than four minutes in against Wisconsin Friday, Cook threw down a monstrous slam to get the energy flowing throughout the sometimes dormant arena. That wasn’t all, though.

Cook is Iowa’s leading scorer, and despite a 72-66 loss the Badgers, he was so much more.

Cook did it all against Wisconsin, dropping 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting, grabbing a season-high 15 rebounds, and dishing out 4 of Iowa’s 9 assists, some of which helped get Jordan Bohannon going from 3 after he went scoreless in the first half.

“He used to just use his athletic power and beast you in the post and dunk the ball,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “He’s figured out how to do it off the dribble, how to do it coast-to-coast… His decision-making is really good now.”

To make Cook’s performance even more impressive, he was matched up against Wisconsin forward Ethan Happ for parts of the contest.

Happ entered the season as a unanimous Preseason All-Big Ten selection, while Cook didn’t even make the 10-player team.

Those roles could just as well have been reversed on Friday, as the Hawkeyes held Happ to 13 points (4 in the first half) and 7 rebounds, well below his season averages of 18 and 12.3, while Cook notched one of his best performances of the season.

“I look forward to these kinds of matchups – I love to compete, especially against guys my position and guys that are really good players,” Cook said. “Ethan’s a great player and I got respect for him. But whenever I got the opportunity to go against guys like that that have the accolades, I’m going to try to go after them. I always look forward to those kinds of challenges.”

The Hawkeyes will head to Madison to battle the Badgers again on March 7, giving fans another chance to watch the war in the paint that is Cook against Happ.

“For the fans to see Happ go against Cook, I don’t know if it gets much better than that,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said. “You get two of the better players in the country right here playing against each other. I’m sure, from a fan standpoint, the entertainment value is pretty good.

“[Cook] has made himself into a heck of a player and they’ve obviously got other good players around him.”

Cook served as a force on the glass for a Hawkeye squad that certainly needed him. His 15 rebounds are a season-high as he posted his first double-double of the season.

The junior from St. Louis record a 9-point, 10-rebound game against No. 13 Oregon and a 26-point, 8-board performance the next night against Connecticut, but against the Badgers, Cook put it all together.

His domination on the glass helped Iowa to a 38-32 rebounding advantage, which will be a key in taking advantage of its size inside moving forward.

“He was aggressive [on the boards],” forward Nicholas Baer said. “We need him to rebound, and I thought something in particular was his offensive rebounding, getting us extra possessions which lead to open shots.”

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