Iowa takeaways: End-of-shot-clock offense needs to change

Chad Leistikow

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With Sunday’s game on the line, senior star Jarrod Uthoff didn’t attempt a shot in Iowa’s final nine possessions.

In a 68-64 loss to Ohio State, that stood out. Why not?

“You’ll have to ask him,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.

He was asked.

“The ball ended up in other people’s hands,” said Uthoff, whose last of 16 points came on a jumper with 12 minutes, 32 seconds left that gave Iowa a 46-44 lead. “And they took the shot.”

For better or for worse, Iowa’s end-of-shot-clock offense has basically been point guard Mike Gesell trying to create something out of nothing.

“We need to look up more (to) me and Jarrod especially when the shot clock’s winding down,” junior forward Peter Jok said. “Me and him, we’ll get the ball and make a play. Mike can make a play, too, but we’ve just got to be aware of the shot clock more.”

Another painful finish leaves Hawkeyes staggering

Even Gesell, who attempted five of Iowa’s last eight shot attempts, agreed that there needed to be changes.

“I think so. We need to switch it up a little bit,” he said. “It hasn’t been effective enough. We’ll look at it and figure out what will be better.”

Jok still hurting

Jok still hasn’t fully recovered from flu-like symptoms that slowed him in Wednesday’s home loss to Wisconsin. That’s why, in part, he passed up an open 3-pointer with about 3½ minutes to go after Ohio State cut Iowa’s lead to 62-58.

Iowa wound up with a forced Gesell shot attempt, and Ohio State came down and got a Marc Loving 3-pointer.

“I wasn’t ready to shoot it. My shot was short all day,” Jok said. “I’m still not feeling well. I didn’t want to force anything.”

Health and foul trouble limited Jok to 23 minutes, his fewest since being pulled with a big lead Jan. 31 vs. Northwestern. He picked up his third foul with 17:01 left in the game, then his fourth with 8:22 left.

It’s the second straight game that one of Iowa’s stars was kept on the bench with fouls. McCaffery limited Uthoff to 23 minutes against Wisconsin for the same reason.

Bench play

Iowa’s reserves were outscored for the sixth straight game Sunday, 18-10, but they looked better than they have in recent games.

Dom Uhl connected on his first 3-pointer since Feb. 7. He contributed a nice line of six points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.

Ahmad Wagner provided a dunk and three rebounds in 14 minutes, but he also left the game after hitting the floor after a hard foul. He appeared to be walking fine after the game.

It was also notable that McCaffery gave freshman guard Christian Williams three minutes; Brady Ellingson did not play for the second time in three games.

Parting shot

Senior night won’t have the allure it figured to have after Iowa’s 10-1 Big Ten Conference start.

Had Iowa won, it would have been playing Indiana on Tuesday with a chance to tie for the league lead. Instead, the four senior regulars — Gesell, Uthoff, Anthony Clemmons and Adam Woodbury — along with walk-on Okey Ukah will be trying to get this team back on track.

It’s not time to be emotional.

“It means nothing if we don’t win,” Woodbury said. “Plain and simple.”