Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery speaks about his star freshman Joe Wieskamp's first game. Was he surprised at how quickly the rookie settled in? Mark Emmert, firstname.lastname@example.org
IOWA CITY, Ia. — The first week of the Iowa men's basketball season has been an unexpected grind. But the Hawkeyes have gotten a pair of victories before heading to New York to face a major step up in competition.
On Sunday, Iowa hung on to defeat a feisty Green Bay team 93-82, thanks to a determined effort by power forward Tyler Cook in the second half.
Cook scored 14 of his 17 points after intermission, including a ferocious dunk followed by a long glare into the baseline cameras, an indication that he was not particularly pleased to find his team in a tight battle.
Iowa defeated Missouri-Kansas City 77-63 on Thursday, another game in which it had to pull away in the second half.
Next up in the 2K Empire Classic is a trip to Madison Square Garden, where Iowa will face Oregon on Thursday and either Connecticut or Syracuse on Friday.
On Sunday, the Hawkeyes got 17 points from Luka Garza, 13 second-half points from guard Jordan Bohannon, 12 from Nicholas Baer, 11 from Connor McCaffery and 10 from Joe Wieskamp.
Offense wasn't the problem. It was a leaky defense, particularly in the first half, that kept the outcome in doubt until the final 5 minutes.
The Hawkeyes led 47-46 at halftime thanks to a large advantage at the free-throw line. Green Bay (1-2) was whistled for 17 fouls, resulting in 18 Hawkeye free throws.
But the Phoenix compensated by making 5-of-9 3-pointers while also getting 24 points in the paint against an Iowa defense that had difficulty containing dribble penetration, a familiar problem.
Iowa center Garza led the way with 11 points in the first half.