Iowa basketball unravels in second half and falls 79-55 at Virginia Tech
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Tyler Cook made a nice drive and hit a running floater for Iowa's first points of the second half Tuesday.
If you're wondering why that moment was so significant, it was the high-water mark for the Hawkeye men's basketball team, who soon got swamped by Virginia Tech and lost 79-55 in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup before an announced crowd of 7,101 at Cassell Coliseum.
Cook's shot tied the score at 40-all. It was 15 minutes before any other Iowa player helped him in the scoring column, with reserve guard Maishe Dailey slicing in from the wing to hit a layup. By then, the Hokies had gotten their transition game going and turned a tight game into a laugher.
"They do a good job of turning bad shots into layups. So I just think our offense got stagnant and obviously when they get an opportunity, those guys are gone," Cook said.
"They made well on our bad shots and our turnovers. Once you get down 16, 17 to 20, it's hard to fight back, especially against a good team like that. So we've just go to stop it from getting to that point."
Cook led Iowa with 16 points. Cordell Pemsl was a demon on the glass, grabbing 14 rebounds.
There were no other bright spots for the Hawkeyes, who shot 7-for-37 after intermission (18.9 percent) and made only one of 12 3-point attempts (8.3 percent).
It was the lowest point total for Iowa since scoring only 41 against Virginia last Nov. 25.
The Hokies, who entered play averaging 102 points per game, outscored Iowa 10-0 in fast-break points in the second half.
Iowa has lost three of its past four games, including an 80-71 setback to Louisiana on Nov. 20 that featured a 21-1 Ragin' Cajuns run in the first half. That stretch was eerily similar to what happened in Tuesday's second half.
Tuesday was also the Hawkeyes' first road game, and it showed. Iowa lost its first five road contests a year ago.
The score was tied 38-all at halftime as the Hawkeyes (4-3) were able to keep Virginia Tech (6-1) from getting out in transition and play a halfcourt game.
Jordan Bohannon made all four of his 3-point attempts to lead the Hawkeyes with 12 points. Pemsl came off the bench to score six points, with eight rebounds and five assists. Iowa outrebounded the smaller Hokies 21-11 in the half and outscored them 20-12 in the paint.
The outset of the second half brought a much different effort from the Hawkeyes.
"We couldn't make anything, and I think it clearly affected our defense, and that's disappointing," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "Because when you're struggling offensively like that, you really need to ratchet your defense up and get some stops, and we didn't do that."
Iowa next opens Big Ten Conference play with a 4 p.m. Saturday home game against Penn State.