After-thoughts from Iowa’s 85-72 victory over Ohio State:
--Sitting Peter Jok for a game or so was a good move, and I said that even before the game began. As hampered as he has been lately by his back problems, he wasn’t helping the Hawkeyes much offensively and it was apparent that he often was hurting them defensively. With him on the sidelines, everyone else on the team felt the need to step up and play with more energy, especially at the defensive end.
--Iowa’s ball movement probably was better than it has been all year. It’s amazing what happens when you no longer have a 22-points-a-game scorer on the court that everyone is preoccupied with funneling the ball to. There have been many games this season — Memphis, Nebraska, Seton Hall, Omaha — where you could see Iowa’s other players standing back and waiting for Jok to win the game for them. Not coincidentally, they lost all those games.
--It wasn’t at all surprising to see Brady Ellingson be the one to step up to do more scoring to fill the void left by Jok. Ellingson very quietly has had a very solid year. Some of us have felt for some time he was more deserving of playing time than Isaiah Moss. Ellingson was really good Saturday, hitting 5 of 7 shots from 3-point range on the way to scoring 17 points.
--Ryan Kriener also continues to develop and probably has the best game of his young career — 14 points, 7 rebounds. Kriener doesn’t do anything fancy or spectacular but he has produced every time he’s been given the opportunity.
How well did Iowa's young big men play as a collective group Saturday? Ohio State center Trevor Thompson had been playing as well as any big man in the Big Ten recently, but he fouled out without scoring in 13 minutes. He was thoroughly flustered and outhustled by Kriener, Ahmad Wagner, Cordell Pemsl and Tyler Cook.
--Ahmad Wagner needs to learn to shoot free throws He’s as good as anyone on this team at drawing fouls and getting to the line, but it doesn’t do much good if he can’t convert. His form isn’t awful. It looks like he should be able to at least be a 65-percent guy.
--Ohio State has great talent and loads of veteran players, which is why some of us thought they had a chance to contend in the Big Ten this season. But I haven’t liked the body language I’ve seen from the Buckeyes in other games I’ve watched this season and more of it came out in this game. You see lots of players barking at one another over things that go wrong on the court rather than trying to support one another.
--How does this bode for the future, Iowa fans? Of the Hawkeyes’ 85 points Saturday, 51 were scored by freshmen, 28 by sophomores and 6 by juniors. None by seniors.