Iowa MBB: Hawkeyes Pull Away from South Dakota in 2nd Half, Win 87–75 in NIT 1st Round Game at Carver Hawkeye Arena

Iowa City, Iowa — Freshmen led the scoring as 1-seed Iowa defeated a scrappy 8-seed South Dakota team 87–75 in the opening round of the NIT. The game was played in front of 12,864 fans — probably the most boisterous crows of the season in Carver Hawkeye Arena — and more than likely the largest crowd of any first round game in this year’s NIT Tournament.

In fact, the first thing Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery said in his post-game presser was to express thanks to the Iowa fans, calling tonight’s atmosphere “unbelievable”. McCaffery’s comments were echoed by many of Iowa’s players.

Four Hawkeyes finished the game in double figures led by Senior Peter Jok with 20 points. But 59 of Iowa’s total 87 points came from Freshmen: Jordan Bohannon with 19, Tyler Cook with 18, and Isaiah Moss with 16, 12 of those coming on three — point shots. Bohannon also had 11 assists to just a single turnover. Ahmad Wagner also made some big plays at key times, McCaffery noting that he provided energy just with his hustle plays when the Hawkeyes needed it the most. Jok has scored 20 or more points in 28 games so far this season.

Iowa shot 57% from the field and hit 44% (10 of 23) from beyond the arc. The Hawks out-rebounded the Coyotes 37–30 but also had 16 turnovers — 11 of those coming in the 1st Half. On the other hand, Iowa hit just 7–15 free throws — and until Jok made his last two with under a minute to play, the Hawkeyes’ three-point shooting percentage actually exceeded its free throw percentage.

Iowa led 42–38 at Halftime, following a Cook tip-in as time expired. But South Dakota held the early lead in the first period and the game was close until Iowa got hot midway through the 2nd Half.

The Hawkeyes improved to 12–0 all-time against South Dakota — and to 4–0 in NIT home games under McCaffery. They will host 4-seed Texas Christian University in a NIT 2nd Round Game Sunday at Carver Hawkeye Arena — a 6:30 PM start televised on ESPNU. The Horned Frogs earned that berth by beating Fresno State 66–59 in another 1st Round Game played this evening.

Iowa is now 19–14 overall and a win Sunday would give the Hawkeyes their fifthe consecutive 20-win (or more) season under McCaffery.

Final game and individual stats are below.

By John Patchett — Posted 03/15/17

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