After-thoughts from Iowa’s 94-80 victory over Minnesota:
--The Hawkeyes’ offensive execution in the second half may have been as crisp as it’s been all year. As Cordell Pemsl noted, the ball was not “sticking.’’ There were very few instances in which they were not perpetually moving the ball around the perimeter or in and out in an effort to create good shots. As a result, they shot 60.6 percent from the field, had only three turnovers and had assists on 14 of their 20 field goals in a 57-point half. It's the most points they've scored in the second half of a Big Ten game since 1990.
--The defense wasn’t quite as sharp. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery admitted that. But it definitely was better than it has been in most recent games. To a large extent, the Hawkeyes forced the Golden Gophers to settle for shots they didn’t necessarily want. Davonte Fitzgerald, who came in averaging 3.1 points per game with only nine 3-point field goals for the season, went four for four from behind the arc and flipped in 17 points. Fitzgerald’s shot is so flat it looks as though it may not arch high enough to get above the rim but they kept going in.
--Jordan Bohannon continued his recent hot streak, collecting 20 points and 10 assists. It's his fourth 20-point effort in the past six games and his third double-figures assist game of the Big Ten season. He played with tremendous confidence in the second half and thoroughly outplayed what some of us thought was one of the best point guards in the Big Ten, Nate Mason. The Minnesota star hit only 2 of 13 shots, finishing with seven points and three assists.
--Many of us have said all along that Isaiah Moss is perhaps the key for this Iowa team. When he is assertive and plays well, everything looks better. He scored 16 points and broke out of a shooting slump with four 3s Tuesday. Now if they can just figure out a way to get this Isaiah Moss all the time.
--Another player who played with newfound confidence Tuesday was freshman forward Jack Nunge. He knocked down a couple of 3-pointers and swatted away a couple of shots at key points in the game. It was clearly his best game since December.
--Pemsl looked like the player we saw much of last season when he broke Iowa’s school record for field goal percentage. He made several tremendous moves inside and made all four of his field goal attempts, providing a big lift when Tyler Cook and Luka Garza got into foul trouble.
--McCaffery came up with some new and unusual lineup combinations Tuesday. At one point in the first half, he had Garza, Cook and Pemsl in the game together, something we’ve never seen. All of those players typically play only power forward or center. He had Nicholas Baer playing the shooting guard position in that stretch.
--Although McCaffery has continually insisted that he is not tightening up his rotation, he went most of the way with eight players Tuesday. Ahmad Wagner played only three minutes, Dom Uhl only two. When Ryan Kriener and Brady Ellingson return from their concussion issues that may change but for now he seems committed to mainly using Pemsl, Nunge and Maishe Dailey off the bench.