After-thoughts from Iowa’s 92-64 victory over Southern Utah:
--Southern Utah clearly was not a great opponent, but the Thunderbirds definitely were better than some of the teams Iowa played early in the season, such as Chicago State and Alabama State. The fact that the Hawkeyes defeated Southern Utah by a similar margin is encouraging. There were no prolonged lulls, very few defensive lapses. It was just a solid, sustained effort from beginning to end. Iowa players acknowledged after the game that they know there are tougher opponents on the horizon — such as 8-3 Colorado on Friday night — but this clearly was another step in the right direction.
--Probably the most impressive thing about Tuesday’s win was Iowa’s rebounding. The Hawkeyes held a 48-29 advantage on the boards and it actually felt even more lopsided than that. Southern Utah had only three offensive rebounds and two of those came in the second half, after the outcome had been decided.
--Another impressive number: The Hawkeyes matched a season high with 25 assists and it was a collective effort. Eleven different players had at least one, led by Jordan Bohannon with seven.
--Least impressive aspect of Iowa’s performance? Its 3-point shooting. The Hawkeyes were only 6 for 26 from beyond the arc. Isaiah Moss was 3 for 8, Bohannon 1 for 4, Nicholas Baer 0 for 2.
--You got the feeling Tuesday that Iowa’s big men could score almost every time they got the ball down low. Tyler Cook, Luka Garza and Cordell Pemsl combined to score 41 points in just 50 minutes of playing time. Pemsl actually was the most efficient of them. He had eight points and four rebounds in only nine minutes of action, making all three of his shots from the field and both his free throws.
--We have been told all along that Garza was going to be an exceptional free throw shooter for a 6-foot-11 freshman center but it certainly didn’t look that way when he started the season going 16 for 39 at the line. He was seven for eight Tuesday and is now 19 for 24 in the past three games, bringing his season percentage up to a more palatable 55.5 percent (35 for 63).
--Forward Ahmad Wagner and guard Brady Ellingson both turned their right ankle by stepping on the foot of an opposing player in the middle of the first half, just a minute, 50 seconds apart. Neither came back in the game but Ellingson didn’t seem to be limping when he left the court afterward. Wagner, however, had his foot in a walking boot. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him miss Friday’s game at Colorado. To be honest, small forward is probably the position where the Hawkeyes can most afford to sustain an injury. Baer and Jack Nunge have both been playing well at that spot.