NICEVILLE, Fla. — Peter Jok showed what almost everyone already knew he could do.
Now the Iowa Hawkeyes just need to start giving him some help.
Jok fired in a career-high 42 points Saturday afternoon but it wasn’t enough to keep Iowa from going down to a 100-92 loss to Memphis in the third-place game of the Emerald Coast Classic at The Arena on campus of Northwest Florida State College.
Jok’s point total is a tournament record and it ties for the fourth best single-game mark in Iowa history. The last time a Hawkeyes player netted that many points was in 1976 when Bruce King also went for 42.
The 6-foot-6 senior was 11 for 16 from the field, 8 for 11 from 3-point range and 12 for 12 at the foul line. The eight 3-pointers are just one short of Chris Kingsbury’s school record. Jok also became the 46th Iowa player to surpass 1,000 points in his career.
“He’s just playing at another level right now,’’ Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said on his postgame radio show. “What he needs to understand is how people are coming after him. For the most part, he kept his cool.’’
It still wasn’t enough, however, as Memphis had five players score in double figures, led by Dedric and K.J. Lawson. Dedric, the American Athletic Conference preseason player of the year, finished with 35 points and 11 rebounds, including several damaging putbacks in the second half. Younger brother K.J. contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds, and three other Memphis players also scored in double figures.
“Both the Lawson brothers … we talked about them last night and earlier today and our main focus was to stop those two because they’re double-double machines …’’ Jok said in a postgame radio interview. “We didn’t get it done.’’
It still was more encouraging than the Hawkeyes’ first game in the tournament — a 74-41 loss to seventh-ranked Virginia on Friday night. McCaffery noted that what he saw Saturday looked more like “Iowa basketball.’’
Memphis (5-1) surged to an early 21-9 lead in the game before Jok took matters into his own hands, knocking down five straight 3-pointers to give the Hawkeyes (3-3) a 30-29 lead.
“They were trying to pull away,’’ Jok said. “I told my teammates to get me the ball. I wasn’t going to lose as bad as yesterday.’’
Memphis had a 54-51 halftime lead, but the Hawkeyes opened the second half with a 12-4 run capped by a Nicholas Baer 3-pointer to make it 63-58.
But Dedric Lawson led a 17-2 scoring run to give Memphis a 75-65 lead and the Hawkeyes had to battle from behind the rest of the way.
They cut the margin to 89-86 on Jok’s last 3-pointer with four minutes to go, but they did not score another field goal the rest of the way. Dedric Lawson scored on offensive rebounds on each of the next two possessions and the Tigers held on despite making just 5 of 10 free throws in the final 1:10.
Iowa’s only points in the final four minutes came on six Jok free throws.
There was a scary moment in the middle of the second half when Jok left the game with an injury to his right shoulder, but he returned fewer than two minutes later and scored 13 more points after that.
“He’s been having problems with that since the summer time …’’ McCaffery said. “It’s just a little bit of an impingement. It’s painful but he’ll work through it.’’
Of greater concern is playing better interior defense and reducing turnovers, according to McCaffery.
And they also need to find some help for Jok. Freshman Tyler Cook scored 17 points Saturday but no other Iowa player had more than six.
There is another tough game coming up quickly as the Hawkeyes visit Notre Dame on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
“We’ve got to learn fast,’’ Jok said. “It’s going to be a long season if we don’t learn fast. I have confidence that the young guys will catch on sooner or later.’’