Iowa awakens late to bounce South Dakota

Mark Emmert

IOWA CITY, Ia. — It was hard to tell which came first Wednesday — the pent-up energy from a near-capacity crowd or the Iowa basketball team's late-arriving swagger.

Whichever it was, the Hawkeyes used an inspired second half to outrun South Dakota 87-75 in a first-round National Invitation Tournament game before a riled-up crowd announced at 12,864 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I don’t think we could have done it without them,” said freshman guard Isaiah Moss, who brought the fans to their feet with four first-half 3-pointers. “I’m looking forward to Sunday. I hope they all come out again.”

Iowa guard Isaiah Moss takes a 3-pointer during Wednesday's game vs. South Dakota at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The top-seeded Hawkeyes (19-14) will host TCU at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. The fourth-seeded Horned Frogs (20-15) advanced by beating Fresno State earlier Wednesday. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Senior guard Peter Jok led the way for Iowa with 20 points. Jordan Bohannon contributed 19 points and 11 assists, the second consecutive double-double for the freshman point guard. Forward Tyler Cook added 18 points, making all eight of his shots from close range. Moss chipped in 16 points.

But the Hawkeyes heard their share of jeers in the early going. The salty crowd let them have it after careless plays resulted in 10 first-half turnovers and kept them from pulling away from the Coyotes (22-12). The crowd also targeted the officials, howling lustily with each perceived missed call.

Thanks to 12 points each from Cook and Moss, Iowa led 42-38 at halftime. That’s when the Hawkeyes regrouped and got the fans on their side for good.

Iowa cut down on its turnovers, committing only six in the second half. It pounded the smaller Coyotes on the boards, with a 20-13 edge after intermission and 18 second-chance points to South Dakota’s seven. A 9-0 run put the Hawkeyes ahead 68-54 with 7:27 remaining, providing the breathing room needed to seal the win.

Cook brought the house down seconds later with a dunk. He heard the loudest roar then.

“For them to come out and support us like they did (Wednesday) was huge for us,” Cook said. “They were loud for us. They were chanting us on and encouraging us. That just gives us energy and boosts us.”

Iowa owned a 40-30 advantage on points in the paint, with forwards Ahmad Wagner and Cordell Pemsl also combining to make 5 of 6 shots. The Hawkeyes shot 56.5 percent (35-of-62) for the game.

And Bohannon, coming off a 24-point, 10-assist effort in Iowa’s loss to Indiana last Thursday at the Big Ten Conference Tournament, played a consummate floor game. He had only one turnover in 37 minutes.

“They were trying to double me in the back court, trying to get on my hands,” Bohannon said. “At halftime, we were just saying, ‘Make sure the big guys stay composed.’ We were being smart when we knew they were going to run and jump us. We were passing to the open guy. We were going to have a fast break.”

The eighth-seeded Coyotes got 10 points in the first half from an exuberant Trey Dickerson, the point guard who played one season for Iowa. Dickerson didn’t score in the second half, however, leaving the game for good after colliding with Pemsl and falling to the court. He suffered a concussion, South Dakota coach Craig Smith said.

Matt Mooney led South Dakota with 23 points.

It was enough to keep the Coyotes close for a while, but not once the biggest crowd of the NIT’s opening round started bellowing.

“They were making it hard on South Dakota even calling plays. When they’re screaming like that, it’s hard for opposing teams to realize even what they’re running on offense,” Bohannon said. “We really rode off their energy.”

Iowa guard Isaiah Moss takes a 3-pointer during Wednesday's game vs. South Dakota at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.