After-thoughts from Iowa’s 92-87 loss to Minnesota:
--As has occasionally happened when they’ve gone on the road this season, the Hawkeyes left their defense at home Sunday. The players insisted that there was no hangover from a disappointing loss to Michigan State on Thursday in which they gave up 51 points in the second half. Some of us suspect there was at least a little bit of residue from that game that led to allowing 55 points in the first half of this one.
--The Hawkeyes didn’t have their usual balance as three players — Luka Garza, Isaiah Moss and Tyler Cook — accounted for 66 of their 87 points. Neither Joe Wieskamp or Jordan Bohannon scored in the first 38 minutes. Wieskamp finally hit three free throws in the last two minutes and Bohannon got his only points on an unmolested layup with 13 seconds remaining when the Golden Gophers were just hanging back and trying to keep from fouling with an 8-point lead.
--A really telling statistic: This was the first time in 88 career games in which Bohannon did not attempt a 3-point field goal.
--In order to send a message to his starters that he wasn’t pleased with their defensive efforts, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery removed his entire starting lineup with 15:55 to go in the game and went with Riley Till, Maishe Dailey, Nicholas Baer, Connor McCaffery and Ryan Kriener on the floor for more than four minutes. They did great defensively, allowing only four points in that stretch. Unfortunately, with an offensively-challenged lineup like that, they only scored three points of their own.
--The Hawkeyes again had great success hammering the ball inside to Garza and Cook. Garza, in particular, scored at will at times. But you almost wonder if they aren’t emphasizing the interior attack a bit too much. Moss made his first five 3-point attempts for the second time in three games, but it almost seemed as though it was an accident when he got a shot. It would be nice to see him be more of a featured weapon in the offense.
--You also can’t help but wonder what would have happened had Moss gone to Minnesota so he could play half his games in Williams Arena. After scoring 19 and 32 points in his first two visits there, he threw in 23 on Sunday. Those are three of his top five Big Ten point totals ever.
--Cook finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, which looks great on paper, but the 6-foot-9 junior really didn’t have a good game. He turned the ball over five times and was 2 for 7 at the free throw line, including an air ball on the front end of a 1-and-1 with 2:15 to go. Iowa had trimmed Minnesota’s 16-point lead down to four (82-78) and that pretty much brought the comeback to a grinding halt. When the Hawkeyes got it down to four again, he committed a costly turnover.
--In this era of new, high tech arenas, it's sort of nice to watch a game in what is by far the Big Ten’s oldest basketball venue. Williams Arena is a throwback. It’s 91 years old and although they’ve spruced up the place here and there with ribbon boards and things, and made it so the floor isn’t quite as elevated as it used to be, it still has brick walls and narrow passageways leading to the upper sections. Its unofficial nickname, “the Barn,’’ still fits.