The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa men’s basketball scrapes by Arkansas State, 88-74, in game decided by defensive play

Shooting just 16.2 percent from behind the arc and losing the rebound battle, the Hawkeyes’ eight blocks and 11 steals were the keys to victory.
Cody Blissett
Ioaw guard Tony Perkins dribbles the ball during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Arkansas State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023. Iowa leads, 49-39, after the first half.

The Iowa men’s basketball team edged Arkansas State, 88-74, Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to improve to 3-1 on the season. 

In spite of having more made free throws than field goals, and hitting just two three-pointers all game, the Hawkeyes’ impressive defensive effort held the Red Wolves at bay in a 14-point win. Turning the ball over only seven times, the Hawkeyes snagged 11 steals and blocked eight shots. 

Coming off a 92-84 loss to No. 8 Creighton late on Tuesday night, Iowa second-year guard Dasonte Bowen theorized fatigue may have played a role in the Hawkeyes’ sluggish shooting, but maintained the “gritty win,” was bound to happen considering the grind of the regular season schedule.

“This is a tough season and we play a long schedule, but we were still able to battle,” Bowen said in his postgame media availability. “Not looking at the name of the school [Arkansas State], like, they’ve got some good players over there. They tried to battle us but we responded.”

The Hawkeyes started off with a bang, as Bowen swiped a swing pass and took the ball cross-court for an and-one layup to open the scoring. After another Bowen layup and a Ben Krikke mid-range jumper, Iowa found itself up, 7-0, less than two minutes into the contest. 

Yet this advantage wouldn’t budge much further, as the Red Wolves dominated in the rebounding department, grabbing 11 boards in the opening eight minutes, including five of the offensive variety, leading to five second-chance points. Arkansas State also committed six turnovers during that span, but Iowa only managed nine points off the giveaways.

“We just didn’t have the same energy coming out of the first half,” Krikke said. “I thought we did a little better in the second half, but we really couldn’t pull away. [Arkansas State] is pretty scrappy.”

“They downshift and go small, so they put all their guards out there, go off the bounce, fly the glass, and fly around,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said of the Red Wolves. “They put their hands on you and they’re very physical.”

With 12 minutes to go in the half, Iowa got into the bonus, and used the designation to its advantage, scoring 32 points from the charity stripe to Arkansas State’s eight. The Red Wolves committed 30 fouls for the game, and the Hawkeyes shot 32-of-46 from the line, and only 27-of-58 from the field. 

While Krikke admitted that the constant whistles sometimes disrupted the Hawkeyes’ offensive rhythm, McCaffery said the Hawkeyes adapted to the Red Wolves’ defensive style by feeding the ball inside to Krikke and first-year big Owen Freeman. The duo combined for 32 points while drawing nine fouls and taking 15 shots from the stripe.

Along with production at the free-throw line was a stifling defense that generated six steals and seven blocks in the opening 20 minutes. Senior guards Tony Perkins and Krikke each had two swats during that span. 

Referring to himself as a good defender “sometimes,” Krikke said he thought he performed well in keeping up with faster-paced guards on screens, adding that the Hawkeyes’ press put him in favorable positions to make steals.

Led by Red Wolf junior guard Freddy Hicks’ 17 points, Arkansas State and its 46.2 percent three-point percentage kept the first half a close affair. That is until Iowa went on an 8-0 run, hitting six of seven field goals to take a 49-39 lead at the break.

That scoring burst was highlighted by a near 30-foot lob pass from Perkins to fellow senior forward Patrick McCaffery for a slam. The Hawkeyes were still outrebounded at the half, 25-16. Hicks led the Red Wolves in total and offensive rebounds for the game. 

Calling the Red Wolves’ 16 offensive rebounds “too high a number,” Fran McCaffery made sure to give credit to Arkansas State’s players for “never quitting” on keeping a play alive. But he also said his squad needed to do a better job of “gang rebounding,” and bringing in multiple players on the glass.

Krikke agreed with his coach’s assessment, explaining how defensive rebounding will be a priority for Iowa for the rest of the season.

“Definitely need improvement from me and the whole team,” he said. “We just got to get out there as a collective group, box out, and finish possessions.”

The opening score of the second half was a mirror-image of the first, as Bowen again scored an and-one coast-to-coast layup on his third steal of the game. That basket was the start of a 6-0 run for the Hawkeyes, who tallied three consecutive steals to open the half. 

Then, both teams faced a scoring drought, as each failed to make a field goal for a span of three minutes. Iowa junior forward Payton Sandfort broke the ice with a second chance layup – his first field goal of the game. 

With ten minutes to go in the second half, Freeman registered his third foul of the game, drawing an offensive whistle in the post. Subbing in for Freeman, Krikke provided some instant offense with six points, before notching a third foul of his own. He would still finish the contest as the Hawkeyes’ leading scorer with 25. 

Krikke was all over the stat sheet on Friday, collecting nine rebounds, two assists, three blocks, and four steals.

With two minutes to go, Arkansas State still found themselves down 10, and Iowa made just two more field goals before running out the clock to remain undefeated at home. 

“I thought we got good shots. Some that would normally go in didn’t go in; that happens,” Fran McCaffery said of his team’s overall performance. “I don’t think much about it. Won the game and did what we had to do.”

Up next for the Hawkeyes is a trip out west to San Diego, California for the Rady Children’s Invitational. Iowa will take on Oklahoma on Thanksgiving Day, and then play the winner of Seton Hall vs. USC on Nov. 24.

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About the Contributors
Matt McGowan
Matt McGowan, Pregame Editor
he/him/his Matt McGowan is The Daily Iowan's Pregame Editor. He is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communications and American studies with a minor in sport studies.  This is his second year with the DI
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.