IOWA CITY — The Iowa basketball team is going to need the help of junior guard Jordan Bohannon in the weeks and month to come.
They didn’t need him Sunday. Not a bit.
With freshman Joe Wieskamp leading the scoring barrage and Tyler Cook showing off a newly tooled all-around game, the Hawkeyes rolled to an extremely easy 103-46 exhibition victory over NCAA Division III Guilford College in their first public appearance of the season at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Bohannon, the Hawkeyes’ top assist man and 3-point shooter in each of the past two seasons, did not play because of a painful bone bruise that has plagued him for nearly two weeks. Freshman CJ Fredrick also did not play because of a lingering rib injury that confirmed his decision to take a redshirt season.
It was just as well. The contest was more than lopsided enough without them.
“The thing about an exhibition game is you’re not playing Guilford. Guilford’s not playing Iowa. We’re both just trying to get better,’’ Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
“Obviously, we wanted to stay after them defensively, even after we got a lead, and I think for the most part we did that … I thought we worked. I challenged them to work and I thought we did that.’’
His players saw a few defensive lapses, too.
“We’ve still got a lot of thing to clean up,’’ Cook said. “With a team like that, with all due respect, we should have held them to less … We’re doing some good things. We’re getting better little by little every day.’’
In terms of offense, however, there was very little to criticize.
The Hawkeyes shot 58.5 percent from the field, had six players score in double figures and had seven different players make at least one 3-point field goal. They took command immediately after the first media timeout, reeling off 17 consecutive points to turn it into the expected rout.
Wieskamp led the way with 14 points — he actually was robbed of an additional two points by a scoring error — and also contributed five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“It was a lot of fun,’’ said the freshman from Muscatine. “It was pretty exciting to put on that uniform and run out of that tunnel for the first time.’’
McCaffery and Cook said nothing they saw out of Wieskamp in his debut surprised them. Wieskamp said the only surprise to him was that he didn’t feel any pregame jitters.
“I thought I would a little bit but I wasn’t nervous at all,’’ he said. “It was just another game. It felt good to finally get out there after not playing in a game since the (Iowa high school) state tournament.’’
Cook, who long ago developed a reputation as a devastating dunker and scorer around the basket, showed some new aspects to his game as he finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. His career-high for a regular-season game is six assists.
Several times, the 6-foot-9, 250-pound junior came flying down the court as the middle man in transition and funneled it to a teammate for a wide-open shot.
“I didn’t make any ridiculous passes today,’’ Cook said. “I just found open guys and they made the shots.’’
He also made one of two shots from behind the 3-point arc. He’s has made just three 3-pointers in his first two seasons at Iowa.
“I probably would have shot more but we had such a big size advantage,’’ Cook said. “We wanted to get it inside a little more.’’
McCaffery said he has seen the diversified part of Cook’s game coming for a long time.
“This has been a process,’’ he said. “We told him we were going to allow him to play that way when we recruited him and he has really worked on that. The first year it was more in practice than it was in games. Last year he did a little bit … He’s just more comfortable now. He has a much better understanding of when to go, when not to go, what to do, what not to do.’’
When someone suggested that he might take over Bohannon’s role as the top assist man on the team, Cook smiled and said: “I told him when he comes back, he might as well move to the 4.’’
McCaffery indicated that Bohannon is likely to return to action Thursday when the Hawkeyes host UMKC in the regular-season opener although he said that’s not a sure thing.
“He’s getting better, he’s close,’’ McCaffery said. “He’s day to day. He feels a lot better than he did a week ago.’’