John Waggoner officially committed to Iowa on Dec. 5. Chad Leistikow | Hawkcentral.com
AMES, Ia. — The Iowa men's basketball team put up more of a fight Thursday than it had in its previous two road games.
But poor ball-handling, soft 3-point defense and an uncanny inability to make free throws proved too costly as Iowa State came away with an 84-78 Cy-Hawk victory at Hilton Coliseum.
The Hawkeyes (4-6, 0-2 Big Ten Conference) haven't won here since 2003. And they have lost six of their past seven games this season.
Still, Thursday was the best effort from Iowa in two weeks.
Jordan Bohannon made five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points.
Freshman Jack Nunge had 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists in a savvy all-around game.
Iowa outrebounded the hosts 53-31. The Hawkeyes led 41-36 at halftime.
It wasn't enough.
The Cyclones made 6-of-14 3-pointers after intermission, including back-to-back treys that produced a 72-63 lead.
Iowa, which had committed only six turnovers in the first half, coughed it up 12 times in the second. Those led to 21 Cyclone points. It was the third consecutive game the Hawkeyes ended up with 18 turnovers.
And the Hawkeyes made only one of their eight free-throw attempts, with four players sharing the blame. They were just 4-of-9 from the line in Monday's loss at Indiana.
Every encouraging sign from the Hawkeyes was matched by the same old issues resurfacing at the wrong time. It's been that kind of season.
Here's what else we learned:
Bohannon comes out firing
After two unusually quiet performances, Hawkeye sophomore point guard Bohannon was much more aggressive about hoisting shots in the early going Thursday. He made 4-of-5 in the first half for 11 points, benefited by being able to play off the ball at times while teammates brought it up court. Bohannon made just 5-of-14 from the field in Iowa’s last two losses — to Penn State and at Indiana. In the second half, he was held in check again until making a couple of 3s late.
Cook's fancy passing
Forward Tyler Cook, Iowa’s leading scorer at 14.6 points per game entering play, drew a lot of attention from the Cyclones. Faced with double-teams in the post, Cook rarely forced things in the first half, instead finding open teammates. He missed all three of his first-half field-goal attempts, but recorded a career-high five assists, along with six rebounds. His patience was key in Iowa building a halftime lead. Cook had two points and no assists in the second half, however.
Dailey on the mark
Backup guard Maishe Dailey nailed a pair of 3-pointers late in the first half and gave the Hawkeyes 9 solid minutes. He was 1-for-7 from the field in Monday’s loss at Indiana, a game in which he did everything else well. If he can be a potent scorer as well, he’ll give opposing defenses much to think about. Dailey missed his only shot attempt in the second half, but did add six rebounds.
Junior forward Nicholas Baer was playing in only his fourth game after a broken finger sidelined him earlier this season. He hadn’t looked like his old multi-faceted self until Thursday. Baer went to the floor to deflect loose balls to teammates, swooped in for putback baskets and gave Iowa five points and three offensive rebounds in 7 minutes in the first half. He added three points and four rebounds in the second. Vital contributions like that are why he’s such an important part of the roster.
Junior guard Brady Ellingson got his first career start Thursday, joining Bohannon and Isaiah Moss to give Iowa a three-guard look to match Iowa State's. Ellingson, coming off a season-high 16 points, struggled to a 1-of-6 shooting line from the 3-point arc. But he did have seven points and five assists against only one turnover in 30 minutes. Moss was ineffective for a third time in four games, however, finishing with only four early points. He seemed to lose confidence after air-balling a first-half 3-point attempt. Ellingson replaced freshman center Luka Garza in the starting lineup. Garza played only 7 minutes, with two points, four rebounds and two turnovers.
Pemsl goes out late
Reserve forward Cordell Pemsl was having a strong second half, with eight points and five rebounds, when he got tangled with an Iowa State player going for a loose ball and crashed to the concrete behind the baseline. He went out with what appeared to be a cut leg and did not return.
Iowa next hosts Southern at 4 p.m. Sunday.