DePaul 93, Iowa 78: Here's what we learned
IOWA CITY, Ia. – Big Ten Conference basketball teams usually cruise to home victories in November against overmatched opponents.
That was not the case for Iowa on Monday. DePaul came into Carver-Hawkeye Arena, scored the first 13 points of the game, and manhandled the home team in a 93-78 victory.
It was the second-most lopsided November home loss in Hawkeye history, only eclipsed by a 77-61 defeat by Campbell in 2011.
The Hawkeyes (1-1) were a step slow all night, on both ends of the court, and trailed 53-30 at halftime. They never cut the deficit below 15 in the second half.
"They set the tone. We've got to set the tone at the beginning of the game," Iowa guard CJ Fredrick said. "We turned the ball over, leads out to jumpshots. Turn the ball over, open 3s. We're going to learn from it.
"We had a great scouting report and we felt good coming in to the game, but we didn't execute it. I was shocked."
"We've got to be more locked-in, to a man, everyone at every position, including myself," Iowa senior center Ryan Kriener said.
The Blue Demons (4-0), a member of the Big East Conference, humbled Iowa in its first game of the season against a Power 6 opponent. The matchup was part of the annual Gavitt Games series between Big East and Big Ten teams.
Iowa was led by Fredrick's 16 points. Luka Garza added 14 and Kriener and Joe Toussaint had 13 apiece.
Here’s what we learned:
HAWKEYES TURN IT OVER: Iowa had 12 turnovers and only six assists in the first half against a DePaul defense that relied on quickness. Seven of those turnovers were by Hawkeye centers Kriener (four) and Garza (three). The Blue Demons turned those turnovers into 20 points. It was an obvious advantage for the visitors, who were the aggressors from the opening tip.
"They play kind of a unique style of defense. It's not quite as crazy as Illinois, but they're really good in rotating," Kriener said. "They stayed down on a lot of shot-fakes, doubled the post at random it seemed like. They really scrambled well. ... At the end of the day, they're our turnovers and we needed to take care of the ball better."
HAWKEYES CAN’T DEFEND: Iowa always seemed a step slow to contest DePaul’s shots, particularly on the perimeter. The Blue Demons knocked down 22 of their 35 attempts from the field in the opening half, including 8-for-14 from the 3-point arc. Iowa seemed hesitant in its zone defense. DePaul took advantage.
NUNGE A NON-FACTOR: Redshirt sophomore Jack Nunge won Iowa’s starting power forward job this fall, but has not made a positive impact in either game. He had two points in a season-opening rout of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. On Monday, he played only 5 first-half minutes, missing both of his shots with no rebounds and one turnover. He played 5 more scoreless minutes in the second half.
Cordell Pemsl returned from a suspension for this game and scored two points in 13 minutes. That position is a real problem so far for the Hawkeyes, who are looking to replace last season's leading scorer Tyler Cook there.
"He's got to be better. He knows that. He's been without question from the start of practice one of our most consistent players, but he didn't play well the last two games," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said of Nunge.
"He's got to fight through it. One of the things that hurt him, was when I put Kriener in and he played well, so he didn't get back in as much. I've got to be able to go back to him and kind of let him play through it a little bit more than I did. But it wasn't one of his better nights clearly."
KRIENER THE BRIGHT SPOT IN FIRST HALF: Kriener, a senior, nearly had a double-double in the first half. He led the Hawkeyes with 11 points and eight rebounds, four of them offensive. He made all four of his shots. He played 12 minutes off the bench. If not for Kriener, it's hard to imagine how far behind Iowa would have fallen.
"I just wanted to provide a lot of energy, provide a spark, provide something to get us going," Kriener said. "The offense was kind of stagnant."
FREDRICK THE BRIGHT SPOT IN SECOND HALF: Redshirt freshman shooting guard Fredrick had only three points at halftime, but he came out of the locker room intent on being much more assertive. He scored 11 points in the opening 10 minutes after intermission, showing great hustle in a lost cause.
"I just stopped thinking about the game. I got the ball in a triple-threat position to be ready to score at all times and make plays," Fredrick said. "I feel like the first half I was just thinking too much."
Iowa next hosts Oral Roberts at 7 p.m. Friday.
Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.
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