IOWA CITY, Ia. -- Now it gets real. No more cupcakes, plenty of tasty challenges.
"Two ranked teams, and another team that just beat Purdue at Purdue," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said after Iowa improved to 8-2 with a 67-44 victory over Alcorn State Tuesday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes, 1-2 against Top 25 teams this season, host No. 14 Iowa State Friday, then meet No. 23 Northern Iowa on Dec. 20 in the Big Four Classic at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. After that is a Dec. 22 game with North Florida, fresh off a victory at Purdue last week. The Ospreys also lost at Northwestern 69-67. Then comes the Big Ten opener at No. 12 Ohio State on Dec. 30.
McCaffery said he's happy with where his team is at heading into the meat of the schedule.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery likes Big Ten going east.
"I'm pleased with the development of some guys," McCaffery said. "I think our guys are playing well together. Very unselfish team. Sharing the ball. Rebounding the ball. Not turning it over. Do that and you've got a chance to win."
Iowa's 31st consecutive home victory over a nonconference opponent was never in doubt against the Southwestern Athletic Conference foe, now 1-6.
Senior forward Aaron White recorded his 76th career double-figure scoring game, finishing with 15 points in just 23 minutes. He's scored at least 10 points in every game this season.
White made nine of 10 free throws, moving even closer to a significant school record. White has now made 487 career free throws. Roy Marble holds the school record with 516 made free throws.
"I never thought I'd be where I am now with the numbers I've put up since I've been here," White said. "So I'm very fortunate, very thankful for the opportunity I've gotten. It's not something I want to reflect on now. But when I sit back after I'm done here, it will mean a lot to me."
Aaron White prepares for last shot at Cyclones.
White is shooting 87.7 percent from the line this season, making 64 of 73 attempts. His success rate from the line has increased with each season. He shot 72.2 percent as a freshman, 79.2 percent as a sophomore and 80.7 percent as a junior, when he made 130 of 161 attempts.
Jarrod Uthoff added 13 points. Gabe Olaseni had 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds off the bench. It was his second double-double of the season. The senior center has scored in double figures in four of the last five games, and six times overall. He had 10 double-figure scoring games in his first three seasons at Iowa.
"He's much more aggressive, looking for his shot, looking for baskets, running the floor," McCaffery said. "It's great to see him playing the game with that kind of speed and getting a couple of dunks."
Freshman Dom Uhl added a career-high 11 points and added six rebounds.
White has made 487 career free throws.
"He looked comfortable out there to me, and impacted the game in a big way," McCaffery said.
So now it's Iowa State, and the start of crunch time.
"They can hurt you in a variety of ways," McCaffery said. "So we've got to be ready for them."