After-thoughts from Iowa’s 72-61 victory over Texas Tech:
--This ranks as one of Iowa’s most impressive victories of recent seasons. Probably the only one from last season to match it was a 15-point conquest of No. 5 Michigan and that one was at home. Because of the toughness and grit required to hold off a very good opponent, it was more impressive than the victory over Oregon in the semifinals of last year’s 2K Empire Classic.
--Give Fran McCaffery credit for using Jordan Bohannon in the starting lineup and going with a smaller unit rather than starting Ryan Kriener or Cordell Pemsl in place of the injured Jack Nunge, as most of us expected. Having Bohannon on the floor with Joe Wieskamp and CJ Fredrick allowed the Hawkeyes to hit Texas Tech with an early flurry of 3-pointers and grab the upper hand. Red Raiders coach Chris Beard called an early timeout and used nine different players in the first five minutes in an attempt to get things under control. His team never fully recovered from that early assault.
--Bohannon, who has shaved his beard, has looked like himself in short bursts in the first few games but he really looked like the Bohannon of old in this one. And not just because the facial hair was gone. He was unable to play against Cal Poly on Sunday because his hip was sore from playing in a game three days earlier. It will be interesting to see how he handles playing on consecutive days, especially after going 33 minutes Thursday in a very physical game.
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--Iowa center Luka Garza twice took shots to the face that drew blood. The second one, an elbow to the lip from Chris Clarke, drew more blood than the final scene of Rocky, but Garza kept coming back and didn’t seem affected. With 17 points and 12 rebounds, he now is averaging 21.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
--Garza has committed only three fouls in the first five games of the season and although he eventually picked up three in the second half Thursday, he still has only six in six games. That’s an extraordinarily low number for a big man who is a rim-protector. Garza has twice as many blocked shots (12) as fouls so far.
--CJ Fredrick played great defense all night but didn’t do a great deal statistically until the outcome was hanging in the balance. Then he hit a clutch 3, grabbed a clutch rebound and made two clutch free throws.
--One of the drawbacks of putting Bohannon into the starting lineup is that Iowa’s second unit doesn’t include much scoring punch. The Hawkeyes dominated the game in the first half when the starters were on the court but when they went to the bench they missed eight straight shots and Texas Tech reeled off seven straight points. None of the reserves scored until the second half and then they only netted four points. Cordell Pemsl did, however, make one of the biggest plays of the game when he speared an airball and saved it inbounds to Fredrick for a game-clinching 3.
--Ryan Kriener played only seven minutes off the bench and did not get a point or a rebound, but don’t be surprised if he plays a much bigger role in the title game against San Diego State. The Aztecs, who routed Creighton 83-52 in Thursday’s second game, have two 6-foot-10 players in the starting lineup and the Hawkeyes may need Kriener to match up with them.