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Grambling St Iowa Basketball

Iowa forward Jack Nunge, left, fights for a rebound with Grambling State guard Shirmane Thomas (5) on Thursday. Nunge scored 17 points as Iowa won 85-74.

After-thoughts from Iowa’s 85-74 victory over Grambling State:

--Since none of Iowa’s game thus far have been on regular television, most Hawkeye fans haven’t gotten a chance to see Jack Nunge play. They’re going to like him. He’s 6-foot-11 with about a 7-4 wingspan, handles the ball like a guard, has a sweet shooting stroke and with the outcome hanging in the balance Thursday night, he was the one who stepped up more than anyone to take control of the game. He may be the best NBA prospect to come into the program in the Fran McCaffery era.

--With Thursday’s game being the first really competitive situation for the Hawkeyes, we got a chance to see who McCaffery truly trusts in his rotation. He went most of the second half with Nunga, Luka Garza, Jordan Bohannon, Tyler Cook and Isaiah Moss on the floor. No one other than that group played more than five minutes in the second half. Maishe Dailey didn’t play at all after halftime. And senior Dom Uhl never got off the bench in the entire game.

--One thing the Hawkeyes have done exceptionally well in these first three games is to hammer the ball inside and draw fouls. They were 27 for 36 at the free throw line Thursday and they’re 65 for 104 for the season. The opposition is 22 for 35.

--The Hawkeyes definitely took a step backward defensively in Thursday’s game and you could tell McCaffery didn’t like it. Even with the game safely in hand with 1 minute, 6 seconds remaining, he was yelling loudly and vigorously enough at his players that you could hear him up in press row.

--Jordan Bohannon isn’t off to a great start shooting from the field — he’s 6 for 21 in the three games — but he handed out seven more assists Thursday and now has 19 (6.3 per game). He also made seven free throws in the last 1:13 to help put the game away.

--Grambling State may not have been quite as physically gifted as its Southwestern Athletic Conference rival, Alabama State, which lost to Iowa on Sunday. But the Tigers were easily the best-coached, most cohesive team the Hawkeyes have played so far. They’re picked to finish seventh in the SWAC but if they had a little more of a frontcourt presence, they probably could contend for the title.

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