AHMAD WAGNER: B

Statistics don’t really demonstrate how well he has played. He is one of the team’s best rebounders and defenders and makes very few mistakes. He has looked a little more potent as a scorer this season, but his greatest value still is as a high-energy player at the other end of the court.

AP

After-thoughts from Iowa’s 98-89 loss to Omaha:

--Here is a topic for Hawkeye fans to debate: Was Saturday’s basketball loss to Omaha more embarrassing than the football team’s September loss to North Dakota State? I’d say it was. North Dakota State is a five-time defending national champion. Omaha hasn’t won much of anything although it could contend for the championship of the Summit League this season.

--I’m not sure if Fran McCaffery will consider changing his starting lineup again this soon, but he should. Ahmad Wagner played with more fire and energy than any player on the team in the second half Saturday and deserves a shot. Besides, this team desperately needs rebounding help and Wagner is the clear answer there. Isaiah Moss played just 12 minutes in his second straight start and finished with five points, five fouls, one rebound and two turnovers.

--Many of us felt Peter Jok had a very good chance to lead the Big 10 in scoring this season. Now, it’s starting to look as though he could lead the country, especially if he keeps getting to the free throw line as frequently as he has been. With 33 points Saturday, he is averaging an even 25 per game and is shooting 95.3 percent (41 for 43) at the foul line.

--Nicholas Baer didn’t have the greatest game for Iowa. He hit a 3-pointer in the first minute, then missed the other five shots he attempted in the game and didn’t get a rebound until after halftime. He finished with four points, five rebounds, three assists and a season-high four blocked shots. After the game, Omaha coach Derrin Hansen said limiting the former Bettendorf star was a point of emphasis for his team. “He makes winning plays for this team,’’ Hansen said. “We did a good job of keeping him off the boards.’’

--McCaffery clearly was unhappy with his entire bench other than Wagner and mentioned that he disliked the attitude and hustle of some of those players. It showed in how much some of them played. Dom Uhl and Christian Williams, who were starters just a week ago, played a combined 17 minutes.

--The point guard competition clearly is over. Jordan Bohannon, who supplanted Williams two games ago, played 35 minutes and never left the court in the second half. It helps that the freshman has made 13 3-point field goals in the past two games.

--It’s still early but losses like Saturday’s are going to make it very difficult for the Hawkeyes to land any sort of postseason tournament berth. They are now 3-5 and still have tough games against Iowa State and Northern Iowa before they get to the Big 10 season. If they’re 6-7 going into league play, they would need to go 10-8 in the Big 10 to even qualify for the NIT.

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