Iowa Virginia Tech Basketball

Virginia Tech's Nickeil Alexander-Walker (4) attempts to shoot past the Iowa defense of Tyler Cook (5) and Jack Nunge (2) in the first half Tuesday.

AP

After-thoughts from Iowa’s 79-55 loss to Virginia Tech:

--The Hawkeyes’ first-half performance was very impressive. They were executing crisply on offense, playing decent defense against a very gifted team and not looking the least bit intimidated in a hostile environment. But when things started going badly in the second half, they panicked and began rushing things, making a bad situation much worse. After being tied at halftime, they were outscored 28-5 to start the second half. It was disturbing that some of their most experienced players panicked the most. Head coach Fran McCaffery had some fairly pointed postgame comments about his players needing to be more tough mentally. He’s right.

--Cordell Pemsl’s most outstanding attribute as a freshman was a high shooting percentage, but that’s about the only thing he didn’t do well Tuesday. He made only two of his eight shot attempts, all from very close range, but he reached career highs with six assists and 14 rebounds (7 offensive, 7 defensive). At halftime, he was on pace for a triple double but did not score and had only one assist in the last 20 minutes.

--In his first game back from a broken finger, Nicholas Baer played hard but he clearly was a little rusty, making only two of nine shots from the field and one of five from 3-point range. And when Virginia Tech was going on a game-turning 20-1 run early in the second half, Baer was one of those throwing up hurried shots rather than patiently executing the offense.

--Isaiah Moss was the Hawkeyes’ leading scorer entering the game but to borrow one of McCaffery’s pet words, he got “sideways’’ Tuesday. He scored the first points of the game on a layup, then never scored again, eventually reverting to his timid ways of the past.

--Brady Ellingson has now played four consecutive games without scoring and his playing time continues to dwindle. He led the team in minutes played two games into the season but in the games since then has played 15, 10, 9, 6 and 7 minutes. He definitely is miscast as a backup point guard but he didn’t do anything in a few brief opportunities to play shooting guard against Virginia Tech.

--For the third time in four games, Jack Nunge was the more effective of Iowa’s two 6-foot-11 freshmen. He collected four points and six rebounds, contributing a pair of timely putback baskets in the first half. Garza was in early foul trouble and had four points and four rebounds, getting half his points on a meaningless layup after the Hawkeyes trailed by 24 in the final minutes.

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