After-thoughts from Iowa’s 98-84 loss to Nebraska:
--It looked as though Iowa finally had found some defensive answers in a victory over Wisconsin on Tuesday, but it reverted to form Saturday. In fact, this might have been the worst performance yet at that end of the court. Forwards James Palmer Jr. and Isaac Copeland got wide open looks at the basket all night on their way to a combined 51 points. The Cornhuskers also managed to get 28 points out of Isaiah Roby and Jordy Tshimanga, who are decent players but not generally scintillating offensive threats. On the plus side, the Hawkeyes held point guard Glynn Watson without a field goal after he burned them for 34 points in a double-overtime game last season. Then again, with all those other guys scoring, Watson barely even looked at the basket. He didn’t need to.
--Copeland was on fire early, scoring 13 points in the first seven minutes. Just when he was at his hottest, Nebraska coach Tim Miles did the Hawkeyes a favor by taking him out of the game. He never quite heated up again but he didn’t really need to. Palmer had 18 of his 28 points in the second half and Roby had 12 of his 17 in the last 20 minutes.
--Iowa was hurt by the fact that Luka Garza picked up two fouls in the first 78 seconds of the game. He spent the next 11 minutes on the bench and even when he came back into the game later in the half, he was very timid and got burned a few times on defense. He was much better in the second half.
--Garza scored eight points in the second half and Cordell Pemsl had 10 points in the game, giving the Hawkeyes a little bit of interior offense to supplement the 48 points they got from Tyler Cook and Jordan Bohannon. But they really needed to get more than two points out of Isaiah Moss, who gave another display of sleepwalking. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery hinted in his postgame radio interview that he might finally be losing patience with Moss, but he added that he plans to keep him in the starting lineup. If Maishe Dailey was playing better or if Brady Ellingson was healthy, you wonder if he might finally consider a change at the shooting guard position.
--Cook was phenomenal much of the night, scoring at will any time he got the ball inside and finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds. However, it looked as though he ran out of gas, missing a lot of close-in shots in the last 10 minutes. His 35 minutes played were a career-high for a regulation game.
--McCaffery hinted recently that he might not be adverse to playing Bohannon for the full 40 minutes in some games and he did it Saturday. The sophomore guard responded with 24 points, seven assists and six 3-point field goals (in 11 attempts). He has now made 21 3s in the last four road games and has 65 3s for the season, tied for the third most ever by an Iowa sophomore.
--Freshman Jack Nunge played 22 minutes, the most he has played since a Dec. 7 game against Iowa State. He didn’t shoot the ball well but looked more confident than he has in recent games and had some good moments. He finished with five points and four rebounds.
--In his radio interview, McCaffery mentioned a large discrepancy in the number of free throw attempts by the two teams. Nebraska shot 36 (14 by Palmer) and Iowa went to the line only 14 times as a team. While there weren’t a lot of glaringly bad calls, it did seem like a big difference, especially considering the Hawkeyes were hammering the ball inside to Cook all night while the Cornhuskers spent much fo the night launching (and making) perimeter jumpers.