Iowa men’s basketball’s cold shooting spells blowout loss to Nebraska

The Hawkeyes converted just 26 percent of their shots from the field on Thursday night.


Matt Sindt

Iowa forward Kris Murray jumps for a layup during a basketball game between Iowa and Georgia Tech at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Yellow Jackets, 81-65.

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

The Iowa men’s basketball team shot 26 percent from the field in a 66-50 loss to Nebraska on Thursday night in Lincoln — including an 8-of-39 mark from the floor in the first half.

Iowa, the Big Ten’s highest-scoring team, was held nearly 34 points below its previous season average.  

The Cornhuskers opened up a 29-8 lead and the Hawkeyes never closed the gap to fewer than nine points for the rest of the game. 

“We got off to a bad start shooting the ball,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “I’ve been impressed with [Nebraska’s] defense, so you got to move the ball, you got to go in and out, you got to go side to side and get good shots, which I thought we did. And I would say the same for the second half. You know, but you double take out [our two players that scored in double digits], we shot 5-for-42.”

Iowa trailed, 9-8, through the first 5:28 of gameplay but then went ice cold from the floor. Over the next nine minutes, Nebraska went on a 20-0 scoring run, and Iowa missed 16 straight field goal attempts. 

Although the Hawkeyes drew within 12 points by halftime, the Huskers began the second half on an 18-6 run, and Iowa never really had a chance to pull even with Nebraska at any point in the final 20 minutes.

“We’d move it, move it, move it, somebody would shoot an open three, somebody would shoot an open jumper, somebody would shoot a floater in the lane,” McCaffery said. “We got 73 shots, that’s a lot of shots to get 50 points. Seventeen offensive rebounds, kids were working hard. There was one stretch in the second half where we got nine stops in a row. Made a little run, but not a substantial run. We only made one three in the second half.”

Murray, Connor McCaffery return

Thursday night marked the return of both junior forward Kris Murray and graduate student Connor McCaffery for the Hawkeyes.

Murray had missed the previous four games with a lower-body injury and Connor McCaffery sat out Iowa’s most recent contest against Eastern Illinois with a hand injury. 

RELATED: Iowa men’s basketball falls to Eastern Illinois at home

Murray tallied a team-leading 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 36 minutes of action.

“I thought considering how much time he was out, I thought he did some really good things,” Fran McCaffery said of Murray. “I mean 17 and eight, pretty good line. We wanted him to be aggressive. He got 15 shots up, he could have shot more as far as I was concerned. We ran a few things for him, but, you know, four offensive rebounds, you know that was key. Especially the way we were shooting it, a lot of misses.”

Connor McCaffery scored five points and collected four rebounds in 25 minutes. 

Big Picture

Iowa fell to 8-5 overall and 0-2 in conference play, while Nebraska is now 8-6 and 1-2 in the Big Ten. 

Up next 

The Hawkeyes are back in action on New Year’s Day as they are set to battle the Penn State Nittany Lions at 4:30 p.m. in Happy Valley. Penn State is 10-3 and 1-1 in Big Ten play.