Tyler Cook and Company coast in Des Moines

Iowa attacked Northern Iowa with its size advantage, as Tyler Cook and Company dominated the Panther defense.


Lily Smith

Iowa forward Tyler Cook fights for control of the ball during the Iowa/UNI men's basketball game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Panthers, 77-54.

Adam Hensley, Pregame Editor

DES MOINES, Ia. – Tyler Cook dominated in the Hy-Vee Classic finale, and thanks to his effort on both ends of the floor, No. 22 Iowa coasted in a 77-54 win over Northern Iowa.

Cook finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists – an all-around effort in Iowa’s eighth win of the season – while hitting 1,000 career points.

“It’s cool, but the most important thing is that we got the win,” Cook said. “Obviously, I’m not a primary ball handler, so I couldn’t get to this point without guys like Jordan [Bohannon], the rest of my teammates, and my coaches for giving me the best opportunity to score the ball.”

Cook got pretty much anything he wanted to down low – Iowa knew this, as it had a clear size advantage over Northern Iowa. Cook and the rest of the Iowa forwards dominated in the paint. As a unit, the Hawkeyes outscored the Panthers, 26-20, in the paint.

“We knew we had an advantage height-wise going into the game, so we just wanted to take full advantage of that in transition and half court,” Cook said. “Kind of constantly looking at it from a guard’s perspective and into the post and to try and play out of that.”

Iowa shot 54 percent from the floor, in part because of the Hawkeyes’ commitment to playing the post, but also thanks to its shot selection. The Hawkeyes’ shooting proved consistent in both halves, as Iowa hit 53.8 percent of its shot in the first and 53.6 in the second.

“Even when we weren’t scoring, I felt the offense was good because we were getting good shots,” head coach Fran McCaffery said.

Cook didn’t do all the work, however. Fellow big man Luka Garza chipped in 17 points. Along with Cook, the two scored 23 of their 34 points in the first half, a half in which the Panthers seemingly couldn’t get anything to fall.

For the entire game, Northern Iowa hit 36 percent of its field goals, but an 18-point first half (21.4 percent from the floor) didn’t help its cause for an upset in Wells Fargo Arena.

Having the same number of turnovers (12) as assist didn’t work in Northern Iowa’s favor, either.

“I think we did a really good job to start the game, having all five really concentrating on and off transition,” Jordan Bohannon said. “The bigs did a really good job with ball screens with really good rotations.”

Cordell Pemsl update

Hawkeye forward Cordell Pemsl played in just his second game of the season against Iowa State on Dec. 6. With more than a week’s rest, however, he didn’t play against Northern Iowa due to pain in his leg.

“He just didn’t feel good,” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “I said it before, it’s literally day-to-day with him. If he feels good, he can play. If he doesn’t feel good, he doesn’t play. I trust him to be able to make a decision and say, ‘I can’t go.’ He knows if he’s going to be effective or not. [He] felt like he could be against Iowa State – he was. Didn’t feel like he could do it [Saturday.]”

What McCaffery did say, though, was that Pemsl won’t retain his day-to-day status for the entire season.

“He wouldn’t go the whole season that way. He would get shut down,” McCaffery said. “I think it’s a possibility for him to still have his surgery, but we’ll see.”

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