No. 8 Iowa 102, Nebraska 64: Here's what we learned

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Jordan Bohannon was dialed-in and the Nebraska Cornhuskers were down and out Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

It was a mismatch from the opening tipoff, and No. 8 Iowa rode the hot hand of its point guard to a 102-64 victory against a Nebraska team that looked gassed while playing its 13th game in 27 days.

It was the largest margin of victory for Iowa (19-7, 13-6 Big Ten Conference) in league play this season.

Bohannon made eight 3-pointers and finished with 26 points. He then took his spot on the bench and watched with delight as 12 of his teammates scored at least two points.

More:Iowa native Jordan Bohannon becomes Hawkeyes' all-time assists leader

Patrick McCaffery scored a career-high 19 points off the bench, draining a trio of 3-pointers in succession in the second half. He finally missed one, only to get the basketball back and drive for a layup, switching seamlessly to his left hand in the process.

It was that kind of night for Iowa, which left the court smiling and relaxed. Nebraska fell to 7-18, 3-15 under second-year head coach Fred Hoiberg.

Here's what we learned:

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon (3) makes a 3-point basket during a NCAA Big Ten Conference men's basketball game against Nebraska, Thursday, March 4, 2021, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

CJ Fredrick departs with injury

The only potential negative outcome from the game for Iowa was an ankle injury to starting shooting guard CJ Fredrick. Fredrick, who has been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, appeared to turn that ankle late in the first half after he fell hard to the court while committing a foul under his basket. He had three points in nine minutes, and did not return. Fredrick immediately went to the locker room with trainer Brad Floy, but returned to the bench area in the first half, pacing and trying to stretch out that ankle. He stood for the rest of the half, and didn't return for warmups before the second half. Keegan Murray replaced him in the lineup.

More:Does CJ Fredrick's absence really make a big difference for Iowa? The numbers are clear.

Fredrick came back out in uniform and sat in his chair for the remainder of the game, with no apparent wrap on the ankle, so holding him out was likely just precautionary. Iowa had the game in hand, and Fredrick will be needed for much bigger games this month.

More:Iowa Hawkeyes stuck together and were able to play full regular-season basketball schedule

Iowa came out firing from 3

The Hawkeyes lost a game last season at Nebraska by making only 4-of-33 3-pointers. That allowed the Cornhuskers to devote all of their defensive attention to Hawkeye center Luka Garza. There was no repeat performance Thursday. Each Iowa starter made a 3-pointer in the first half. Point guard Jordan Bohannon made five of them, firing up shots with abandon, the way he has so many times in his five-year career when he’s feeling confident. Garza had 14 first-half points of his own, going to work against an undermanned Nebraska front court. Iowa led 48-26 at halftime, showing again how dangerous its offense is when shots are falling from the perimeter and Garza is wreaking havoc down low.

More:Luka Garza makes Hawkeye history as all-time leading scorer in men's basketball

Hawkeye defense bears down

Nebraska was playing its 13th game in 27 days, making up ground after a 20-day break for COVID-19 issues. So maybe fatigue was finally catching up with the Cornhuskers. But they had won two straight, and Iowa knew it couldn’t take the visitors lightly. The Hawkeye defense was on point early, forcing 12 first-half turnovers that produced 10 points. Nebraska made only 10-of-31 shots in the first half (32%). Perhaps most impressively, Iowa did all of this while being called for only three fouls. The Hawkeyes had the Huskers completely at bay in the opening 20 minutes.

Iowa concludes the regular season by hosting Wisconsin at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at memmert@registermedia.com or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.