After-thoughts from Iowa’s 98-84 victory over Iowa State:
--All those panic-stricken fans who were asking on social media Monday night how much it would cost Iowa to buy out Fran McCaffery’s contract can set aside that information for now. They can hold onto it until the next time the Hawkeyes lose a couple of games in a row and they reach again for the panic button.
--Most of us arrived at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday night not really expecting to see Joe Wieskamp play. And we certainly never expected to see Cordell Pemsl play. Both players showed up on the court and played a role in helping the Hawkeyes win the game. The sprained ankle Wieskamp suffered Monday night at Michigan State appeared significant enough to keep him out for a week or two. He played 22 minutes, scored seven points and made a couple of big plays in the second half to help hold off the Cyclones. Pemsl, who had decided to sit out the season because of chronic inflammation in his knee, changed his mind Thursday and played 15 very effective minutes, collecting eight points, six rebounds and a blocked shot.
--It not only was amazing that Pemsl played but how much he played. McCaffery put him in the game with 12 minutes, 56 seconds to go in the first half and left him on the floor for nine minutes, during which time the Hawkeyes went from a 19-16 deficit to a 36-27 lead. The 6-foot-8 junior showed no rust from sitting out the previous seven games and seemed to be in very good condition. It’s not clear if he will continue to play the whole season now. He hinted after the game that he may play only a few more games before undergoing season-ending surgery.
--It seems an understatement to say Isaiah Moss had his best game of the season. Other than that memorable game last season in which he scored 19 points in the final 97 seconds against Minnesota, this may be the best Moss ever has played. He scored 18 points in the first half and it could have easily been 21. He made four 3-point field goals and hit three other perimeter shots in which his foot was on the 3-point line. McCaffery obviously liked the way he played because he played Moss the full 20 minutes in the first half and 31 minutes in the game. Moss, who had 12 rebounds in the first eight games of the season, also grabbed seven boards. Hopefully, this gives him the boost of confidence he needs to play this way more often.
--Tyler Cook said after the game that he felt no one could guard him in this game and he was pretty much right. He hit 12 of 16 shots from the field, including three very impressive dunks off of offensive rebounds, and finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
--The efforts of Moss and Cook overshadowed another strong performance by Bettendorf’s Nicholas Baer, who was a one-man gang during a 15-2 scoring run that expanded Iowa’s lead to 19 in the middle of the second half. Baer had three 3-point field goals in that stretch along with a couple of offensive rebounds, a perfect pass to Luka Garza for a layup and a charge he took from ISU’s Marial Shayok.
--Baer had a plus-minus of plus-13 in the game. The only player with a better number than that was Connor McCaffery, who was plus-15. McCaffery was 8 for 8 at the foul line in the final five minutes and finished with 12 points. He’s probably one of the few players in the country who has scored more points this season on free throws (40) than field goals (33).
--The Hawkeyes were shooting 31.9 percent from 3-point range coming into the game and had not shot better than 40 percent in a single game. On Thursday, they made 50 percent (9 for 18). It appeared to be a product of better ball movement and perhaps some less-than-great perimeter defense by Iowa State.
--Iowa State not only did not challenge the Hawkeyes as much defensively as Iowa’s three previous opponents (Michigan State, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh) but it was crushed on the boards, 44-24. With Cameron Lard and Solomon Young out in the early part of the season, the Cyclones have played with basically a four-guard set-up but it didn’t work out too well Thursday. In order to compete in the Big 12 this season, they may need to go to a bigger lineup.