Iowa freshman forward Joe Wieskamp discusses his defense and overall composure in his first game in a Hawkeye uniform. Listen in: Hawk Central
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Joe Wieskamp provided a little punch to the Iowa starting lineup Thursday, starting with the first basket of his Hawkeye career.
It was a 3-pointer in the left corner.
Nothing but net.
Wieskamp, the top prospect in Iowa in the 2018 high school class, added two more from that spot, then stepped out and added an other from the top of the key.
It was a spectacular debut performance for the prized recruit, and Iowa needed all of his 15 points to manage a 77-63 victory over Missouri-Kansas City before an announced crowd of 9,317 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"Guys were able to drive and find me. Their focus was on (Tyler Cook) in the post," Wieskamp said.
"It was a good start. Anytime you make your first shot, you know it's going to be a good game. You've just got to stay confident and stay aggressive, and that's what I tried to do."
Wieskamp helped a sluggish Iowa squad build a 34-26 halftime lead.
But it was junior wing player Maishe Dailey and a second unit that turned the tide midway through the second half with the aggressive Kangaroos (0-2) refusing to yield.
"There was a stretch there where we played with no swag at all. And that was one of the things I pointed out," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "We've got to attack. We've got to move it. We've got to play like we're supposed to win the game. And that's when everything changed."
Dailey scored 11 points. Reserve center Ryan Kriener added six points and eight rebounds.
Eventually, the starters, led by Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook, found some offense. They each finished with 12 points after making no field goals in the first half.
"I felt like we had an advantage in the post offensively and I wanted to exploit that, and we were jacking 3s," McCaffery said of his team's early malaise.
When Iowa concentrated on getting the ball into the paint, UMKC was forced to foul. Iowa made 28 of 38 free throws to pull away.
On the negative side, Iowa finished with 16 turnovers and 15 assists. The smaller Kangaroos had 11 steals, but also grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.
"It was a little bit of a scrambled game, so I'm not overly concerned with it," McCaffery said of the turnovers. "I felt good with our ability to handle the ball when we needed to."
Iowa next hosts Green Bay at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Nunge to redshirt this season
Before tipoff Thursday, Iowa announced that sophomore forward Jack Nunge will redshirt this season, alleviating a bit of the crowding in a front court that includes Tyler Cook, Luka Garza, Ryan Kriener and Cordell Pemsl.
Nunge started 14 games at small forward last season, averaging 5.7 points and 2.8 rebounds. But the 6-foot-11 Indiana native is transitioning to be more of a low-post player and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
McCaffery said the decision was Nunge's, but that he was happy he wouldn't have to try to find playing time for five low-post players. He also said it's often more beneficial for a second-year player to redshirt, allowing a player to get his feet wet for one year and then re-evaluate how they can improve their game.
"He felt like he was OK either way, but felt like looking at the situation it was prudent for him to make this decision," McCaffery said.
Freshman guard CJ Fredrick is also redshirting this season, meaning McCaffery will have to tighten up his rotation with only 10 scholarship players available. He frequently used 11 players last year.