Patrick McCaffery, reserves push Hawkeyes past Huskers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Iowa’s bench scored 45 points in the Hawkeyes’ 104-64 route of Nebraska.


Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

After scoring 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, redshirt freshman forward Patrick McCaffery promptly checked out of the game and headed straight for the trash receptacle.

With 3:03 remaining in the game, Iowa led by 33 points and McCaffery vomited in the garbage can.

“Stuff like that’s been happening to me ever since high school,” McCaffery said postgame. “It kind of overwhelms me for a second. I’ll go throw up, and in high school I wouldn’t even sit back down. I’d just walk right back in the game. Tonight, obviously, I didn’t have to do that. It’s just kinda something that I’ve always had to deal with. It happens in practice, stuff like that too. It’s just kinda something that we’re working around and trying to figure out.”

Prior to his spat with the waste bin, McCaffery poured in three-straight 3-pointers in just under two minutes. McCaffery highlighted an immaculate night for Iowa’s reserves, as the Hawkeye bench dropped 45 points in a 102-64 trashing of Nebraska.

In the Hawkeyes’ previous two matchups against then-No. 4 Ohio State and then-No. 3 Michigan, the reserves scored just 15 and eight points, respectively.

Iowa’s second and third teams were also without their most pivotal piece Thursday night, backup forward Jack Nunge.

The 6-foot-11 native of Newburgh, Indiana, tore his right meniscus in the Hawkeyes’ Feb. 25 meeting with Michigan.

“Jack is such a huge presence on our team, especially on the defensive end,” McCaffery said. “He’s really good on offense, I mean, you’ve seen him make threes and everything like that. He’s also such a really big tool for us on the defensive side of the ball with his ability to block shots and rebound. So, Keegan and I both knew that we needed to step up our rebounds since Jack’s been out. And I can’t even talk about how I feel for Jack. It’s just beyond upsetting for everybody. I mean, nobody deserves to go through what he’s been through. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever been around, ever. It just kills me to see what he’s going through.”

Hawkeye head coach Fran McCaffery relies on younger players like Patrick McCaffery to anchor Iowa’s backup units. Among the Hawkeyes’ key reserves are sophomore guard Joe Toussaint, freshman guards Tony Perkins and Ahron Ulis, freshman forwards Keegan and Kris Murray, and freshman center Josh Ogundele.

“[Patrick] was terrific,” Fran McCaffery said. “He was great in both halves. So was Keegan, so was Joe [Toussaint], and then, of course, Tony and Ahron got a shot. It was great to see Kris Murray get in the act. You know, get in the activity along with Josh. We’re going to need those guys at some point as well.”

That core of underclassmen produced 31 of Iowa’s bench points, and according to Fran McCaffery, their time to shine is coming.

“I thought [they] were great,” Fran McCaffery said. “I love that group. They’re really competitive in practice. They’re incredibly positive every day. I’m just excited for them. I was excited to see them out there, and they’re going to get their opportunity.”

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