Iowa in need of increased production after Cook injury

If Tyler Cook misses time, Iowa needs several players to step up in his absence.


Shivansh Ahuja

Trainers tend to Iowa forward Tyler Cook during a men's basketball matchup between Ohio State and Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, January 12, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Buckeyes, 72-62.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

Tyler Cook has been Iowa basketball’s leading scorer for the past two seasons, ever since he took on the leadership role following Peter Jok’s departure in 2017.

With career-highs in points, rebounds, and assists this season, the one thing that would hurt the Hawkeyes more than anything is an injury to Cook.

But that happened in Iowa’s 72-62 victory over No. 12 Ohio State on Jan. 12.

Every time Cook went down before, he got up. Not this time. With about four minutes remaining in the second half, the 6-9 big man stayed down in serious pain with a left ankle injury.

Shivansh Ahuja
Iowa forward Tyler Cook drives to the net during a men’s basketball matchup between Ohio State and Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, January 12, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Buckeyes, 72-62. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

“We always make fun of him — he was made in a lab, he doesn’t get hurt,” Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon said. “Just put a shot of him, and he’ll be fine … He’ll say the same thing.”

Cook’s ankle injury came one game after he missed Iowa’s battle against Northwestern in Evanston on Jan. 9.

Cook sat out the 73-63 road victory with a knee injury, but Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza stepped up in his absence, dropping 19 and 16 points, respectively.

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery was pleased with seemingly everyone on the team in one aspect or another after the win.

Whether it was Ryan Kriener and Maishe Dailey on defense, Garza and Isaiah Moss on offense, Wieskamp and Nicholas Baer on the glass, or Bohannon in crunch time, the Hawkeyes did exactly what they needed to do to shut Northwestern down and escape with a win without their best player.

“Individuals have to go in different roles [when Cook is out],” McCaffery said. “Those are the things you need, and everybody has got to step up if Tyler is not out there … All of those things have to happen together when Cook is out.”

Iowa’s next two games are at Penn State and home againsr Illinois — the bottom two teams in the conference — so if Cook was forced to miss some games, now wouldn’t be the worst time.

If Cook remains out, the Hawkeyes will have to find a way to make those contributions in different areas on the floor consistent.

Bohannon will need to pick up his scoring. One of Iowa’s top scorers for the past two seasons, Bohannon has only scored in double figures once since Big Ten play resumed on Jan. 3.

That one game, though, was a 25-point outburst against No. 24 Nebraska in which he hit 5 3-pointers and enjoyed success moving the ball, racking up 5 assists.

Bohannon has shown he is capable of shouldering the load, and now is an important time for him to do it again.

Kriener can also be a big man to provide solid minutes if Cook is out for an extended period of time. He has been huge in the paint for the Hawkeyes recently, scoring in double figures in three of his last four games after reaching that mark only once in his first 13 contests.

His defense — just like Iowa’s performance as a team on that end of the floor — serves as a key for success as well, especially on the inside.

The Hawkeye bigs have shut down some of the best big men in the conference in the past two games.

Dererk Pardon (13.8 points per game) and Kaleb Wesson (16.2) scored just 6 and 2 points, respectively, against Iowa.

“We changed our philosophy a little bit to have more gap help that way,” Kriener said. “With Pardon and Wesson, we really emphasized on denying them the ball, playing them before the catch, because they’re such dominant scorers when they have it.”

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