Iowa desperately needed fight and energy against Iowa State.
After suffering a loss in a 6-point heartbreaker to Wisconsin at home and getting demolished by 22 at Michigan State, the Hawkeyes needed those specific characteristics to pick up a win in a gritty rivalry game.
Cordell Pemsl brought them in Iowa’s 98-84 Cy-Hawk win over Iowa State in Carver-Hawkeye Thursday.
After Pemsl was set to miss the season because of a surgery that was set to take place after finals week, he suited up for the Hawkeyes and played important minutes.
While his stat sheet was solid – 8 points and 6 rebounds – he did things that didn’t show up as well, like taking charges, helping force a shot-clock violation, and starting a skirmish (one of two) with Iowa State’s Michael Jacobson at half court to give Iowa a jolt.
“This was a game where we needed energy,” Pemsl said. “We couldn’t come out slow. The fans were into it; we needed to give them something to cheer for. I felt like we did a great job of controlling our energy for the most part and executing.”
“Think this one means a little more?!”
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) December 7, 2018
While Pemsl added a spark, Iowa was led offensively by Isaiah Moss and Tyler Cook.
Moss churned out a career game – as he tends to do against the Cyclones – with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while putting on a clinic from 3-point range, draining 4 shots on 5 attempts from behind the arc.
Cook, on the other hand, flew around on the floor, posting 26 points on 12-of-16 shooting with 11 rebounds (7 offensive), including numerous put-back dunks.
Nicholas Baer chipped in with 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from deep, adding to the 3-point barrage the Hawkeyes displayed.
As a team, Iowa finished 9-of-18 from beyond the arc.
The only problem Iowa had was turning the ball over 18 times, but it wasn’t enough to slow the offense down on its way to a season-high 98 points.
“It’s fun when you’re playing out there, everybody’s making shots,” Baer said. “We’re going inside, [Cook’s] doing his thing, and guys are able to make shots down the stretch. That’s what’s fun about this rivalry, that’s what’s fun about playing at Carver – when everybody comes alive.”
After the Cyclones hit back-to-back 3s to start the game, it seemed as if the Hawkeyes could be plagued by what hurt them most last season: 3-point defense.
Eventually, though, Iowa turned it up on the defensive end of the floor to keep the Iowa State offense at bay.
With Lindell Wigginton handcuffed to the bench and Cameron Lard on the floor for just 11 minutes before fouling out, the Cyclones shot a solid 47 percent on the night, but only put up a 26 percent clip from beyond the arc as Iowa kept them from running the floor.
“They’re really good in transition,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “I think we made enough shots. We were able to get the defense back after making shots. It’s a point of emphasis: you have to sprint back and get five guys under the ball.”
The Hawkeyes went into the locker room at half with a 7-point advantage, thanks to stellar play from Moss and Cook.
In the second, Iowa held a lead by as much as 20 in the second half, but a Cyclone run led by the most part by Marial Shayok brought Iowa State to within 8.
The Hawkeyes didn’t falter, however, and proved they can hold their own in a chippy battle.
“That’s what we come here to do – we come here to compete,” Cook said. “A lot of passion, a lot of fire, but it was a lot of fun and that’s all you can ask for.”
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