Cy-Hawk basketball: What we learned from No. 19 Iowa's bounce-back win over Iowa State

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Unlike the women’s Cy-Hawk affair Wednesday night, there was no need for game-winning heroics once the men got rolling. No. 19 Iowa put this one out of reach long before the final moments.

An emphatic second-half start gave the Hawkeyes enough cushion to hold off one last Iowa State push. Iowa emerged with a 98-84 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa forward Tyler Cook (25) flexes after a dunk during a NCAA Cy-Hawk series men's basketball game on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

A 25-12 surge out of the break ballooned the Hawkeyes’ lead to 20 as the Iowa City crowd came to life. The Cyclones eventually trimmed the deficit to eight with six minutes to play, but Iowa countered with an 8-0 run to avoid any chance of a collapse.

Tyler Cook and Isaiah Moss ran the Iowa show, each going for 20-plus. The Hawkeyes also got solid contributions from Nicholas Baer, Connor McCaffery and Cordell Pemsl, who made a surprise return after it was previously announced he’d be out for the year with a knee injury.

With plenty of season still ahead, it’s hard to say one game in early December was overly crucial. But the Hawkeyes desperately needed a bounce back after Monday’s dud at Michigan State. A Cy-Hawk win does the trick.

The Moss effect

Moss could hardly buy a bucket through Iowa’s first few games, but Thursday’s strong outing was a welcomed rejuvenation. He went 7-for-11 in the first half, splashing home just about everything he shot.

With usual scorers like Joe Wieskamp and Jordan Bohannon not at their best, Iowa needed an outside spark from somewhere else. Moss stepped up.

Rising up

There were rumblings that Pemsl might be active when he went through pregame warmups, but nothing was officially announced until just prior to tipoff. Instead of season-ending surgery, the Dubuque Wahlert product is opting for rest and treatment for his ailing knee.

His juice was needed Thursday night. Pemsl had eight points and six rebounds in 16 minutes, also providing a toughness injection on the defensive end.

Pemsl’s contributions should only increase as he gets his legs back under him. More depth is never a bad thing in a long season.

Down-low dominance

When Cook wanted his, he pretty much got his. Iowa State threw all it could at the St. Louis native, but Cook had his way all night inside.

His 10 rebounds were huge as Iowa nearly doubled up the Cyclones on the boards.

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.