Iowa men’s basketball falls to TCU in Emerald Coast Classic championship game

The No. 25 Hawkeyes dropped their first game of the season, falling to 5-1 on the year.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery yells during a basketball game between Iowa and Omaha at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Mavericks, 100-64.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter

Iowa men’s basketball struggled throughout a 79-66 loss to TCU in the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Florida, on Saturday evening.

The Horned Frogs jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first three minutes of action and the Hawkeyes never fully recovered.

Iowa managed to tie the game at 11 apiece led by a five-point run from junior forward Kris Murray, but it relented to a 21-15 TCU lead.

The Horned Frogs maintained a two-point advantage at the break after a five-point run by Iowa to end the half. The Hawkeyes never led in the second half.

TCU guards Mikah Peavy and Mike Miles combined for 31 of the ‘Frogs’ 79 points. Peavy led with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Miles added 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting.

The Iowa defense struggled, allowing TCU to convert 34 of its 62 field goals – 54.8 percent.While the Hawkeye defense gave up its highest opponent field-goal percentage of the year, the Iowa offense stumbled, too.

The Hawkeyes shot dismally from behind the arc, knocking down just three of 17 attempts. Murray put down two of those makes, and Ahron Ulis made his only triple of the contest.

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said his team’s struggles from behind the arc were not indicative of his players’ typical shooting splits.

“We didn’t shoot it well from three,” McCaffery said in a release after the loss. “Normally, we are a much better shooting team than that. I think that played into when they started to get separation [on the scoreboard]. We got it to the front of the rim a couple times, but it didn’t fall for us.”

The ‘Frogs owned the boards as well, pulling down 41 rebounds to Iowa’s 28. TCU capitalized on Iowa’s poor second-half shooting — 34.3 percent from the field, 9.1 percent behind the arc — to the tune of 16 defensive rebounds after the break. The Horned Frogs also played to a 13-10 advantage on the offensive glass. 

“Defensively, we gave up too many offensive rebounds,” McCaffery said. “They were cutting really well; we were staring at the ball. They got some layups. We wanted to keep them in front of us, so we have got to learn from that.”

McCaffery said his team’s lack of physicality defensively and on the glass was noticeable.

“Both [Emerald Coast Classic] games were really physical, which is not unlike what we see in the Big Ten,” McCaffery said. “I got some veteran guys back, but it is a new team and I think it’s important to be able to play against teams that play with that level of physicality and figure it out.”

Ulis shines despite loss

Junior guard Ahron Ulis was the Hawkeyes’ sole bright spot in the loss. The 6-foot-3 Chicago native led the Hawkeyes, along with junior guard Tony Perkins, with a career-high 15 points.

Ulis shot 7-for-8 in 24 minutes on the floor.

Hawkeyes earn tournament honors

Murray and junior forward Patrick McCaffery were both named to the Emerald Coast Classic All-Tournament team after Saturday’s loss.

Murray notched back-to-back double-doubles in the Hawkeyes’ final two games of the tournament, and Patrick McCaffery led all scorers in Iowa’s victory over Clemson on Thursday night. Patrick McCaffery, a 6-foot-9, 210-pounder, was held scoreless against TCU, shooting 0-for-5 and finishing with a team-worst -20 +/- score.

RELATED: Iowa men’s basketball wards off second-half comeback, beats Clemson to advance to Emerald Coast Classic championship game

Up next

The Hawkeyes play host to Georgia Tech at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. The Yellow Jackets are currently 4-2, while the Hawkeyes check in at 5-1.