How Iowa basketball broke two records on Thursday night at home
On Tuesday, Iowa men's basketball team consistently fended off runs by North Carolina Central to finish with a 17-point win.
Two days later, the result against Alabama State was never in question.
The Hawkeyes put forth their best offensive output of the season: 108 points and another dominating performance in the early part of the season. But head coach Fran McCaffery said afterwards that their 26-point win was anything but easy.
"They made 11 3-pointers themselves; you can't say they backed down," McCafffery said. "But their zone (defense) enabled us to get good shots all night and we made them. But I thought we got it to the high post, low post and got some opportunities in transition. So we moved it and mixed it around."
Keegan Murray led the way with 26 points but a few other Hawkeyes had career nights. Point guard Joe Toussaint dished out a career-best 11 assists to go with 11 points and Kris Murray (17) and Payton Sandfort (21) reached career highs in points.
The Hawkeyes (4-0) will have a few days off before their next game on Monday at home against Western Michigan (1-2), who lost to Division II opponent Saginaw Valley by a score of 80-63 on Thursday night.
Here are four takeaways from Thursday night's game:
More on Jordan Bohannon's record-breaking night
Jordan Bohannon's record-breaking three point shot came later an expected to most but for him it turned out to be perfect timing. With a chance to break it on Tuesday, Bohannon shot 1-for-9 from three point range. The significance of doing it on Thursday? It was his dad's birthday.
"It's almost destined for me to break it on his birthday with all the shots he's helped me shoot," Bohannon said.
Bohannon admitted after the game that he first looked at the all time list as a freshman in high school. Nearly a decade later, Bohannon sits atop the list with an opportunity to significantly widen the gap for the rest of the season.
Despite coming back for a sixth year, Bohannon broke Ohio State's Jon Diebler's record playing 333 less minutes. The feat is even more impressive when considering the amount of injuries that Bohannon has played through during his career.
Nights like Thursday illustrate why Bohannon returned. He broke a conference record in front of a lively crowd that gave him two different standing ovations and the super senior watched his team notch another win in the early part of the season.
He's playing a new position while embracing a leadership role. In the early part of the season, his decision is playing out perfectly.
"You have to work really hard to accomplish something like that," McCaffery said. "I’m not talking about during the offseason; I’m talking about since you are a little kid. Dreaming one day that you are going to play at this level and preform consistently the way he has is truly impressive and I’m really happy for him and proud that I got to coach him.”
The next record to watch: 157, most games played in a career in NCAA history. Health pending, Bohannon (146 as of Thursday) will break that record on Jan. 13, 2022 at home against Indiana.
Another notable record was broken on Thursday
Bohannon's record-breaking shot was the most notable 3-pointer of the night, but there were plenty of them falling against Alabama State — a program-best 20 triples, to be exact.
Bohannon's four three pointers came second to Sandfort's five. In total, five different players: Bohannon, Sandfort, Keegan and Kris Murray and Joe Toussaint made multiple three pointers.
This performance is more impressive considering that two nights ago Alabama State held Iowa State to just one 3-pointer (1-for-20) in Ames. McCaffery said the way the Hornets defended allowed for them to be successful tonight.
"I don't see a lot of teams playing us in zone for 40 minutes," McCaffery said. "They have athletes, I thought they'd play more man or mix it. Iowa State went 1-20 the other night so I think they felt good about it and came out with it (Thursday)."
Opponent strategy aside, a shooting outburst like this only helps the Hawkeyes' confidence. The previous record, which was set by last year's team that had proven shooters in Bohannon, CJ Fredrick, Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza. Thursday night showed another glimpse of the potential perimeter shooting ability on this team.
Payton Sandfort continues to emerge
Bohannon said postgame that he hopes true freshman Payton Sandfort is in a position to break his record by his senior year.
"I made, what, my seventh tonight?" Sandfort said. "I got a long ways to go but it's awesome for him. To see that was a really cool thing."
Sandfort's career-high 21 points (15 from 3-point range) illustrated why McCaffery recruited him so heavily and why he's been a regular in the rotation. He's had a slow start shooting the ball, only converting 2-of-11 3-point attempts before Tuesday but his confidence never wavered.
He credits coach McCaffery, Bohannon and senior Connor McCaffery for encouraging him to keep shooting despite the early slump.
On Thursday, it paid off.
Every game, I feel like there's a weight lifted off my shoulders," Sandfort said. "I'm just back to my normal form, what I'm used to. Looking forward to continue to contributing."
His 21-point performance propelled him to the second-highest bench scorer of the season (35) behind Kris Murray (39). Shooting is what he's known for but McCaffery is excited for him to showcase the depth of his skills throughout his career.
"The thing about him is that since he made five threes you think of him as shooter," McCaffery said. "But that kid is a player. He can handle it, he can drive it, he moves it, he has great feel and he’s really smart and tough; also, he has a great frame so he can be physical on defense. We really recruited him hard because I thought he had a chance to really be special and we are seeing that now.”
An update on Patrick McCaffery
As one player, Kris Murray, returned to action after missing Tuesday's game to a non-COVID related illness, another Hawkeye missed Thursday's game.
Patrick McCafffery (lower body) missed his first game of the season and is listed as day-to-day. The sophomore battled two separate ankle sprains during the offseason and missed a considerable amount of preseason camp.
He re-aggravated the injury on Tuesday, according to Fran McCaffery who held him out on Thursday as a precaution.
"He was pretty good in the first half (against NC Central)," McCaffery said. "Second half, I saw him holding it and I took him out so he's been getting treatment since then. He's sore, I think he'll be ready to go on Monday. We'll see how it goes on (Friday) and Saturday."
Kennington Lloyd Smith III covers Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.