After a rough start, the Hawkeyes took care of business against North Carolina A&T in a 112-71 win inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa moves to 2-0 and its schedule is about to amp up significantly over the next few weeks. Let’s dive into some of the first impressions of the win.
** One of the things that Iowa wanted to see was Patrick McCaffery getting off to a quick start. He finished the opener with 11 points, but didn’t feel like he was that much of a factor in the season-opening win. McCaffery wasted zero time. He put up seven points in the first 2:28 to bolt the Hawkeyes out of the gate.
** Rebounding is going to be one of the key factors for the season with this Iowa squad. The Hawkeyes were forcing some tough shots early in this one, but the Aggies did a good job of fighting on the glass. They recorded four offensive rebounds in the first eight minutes and turned them into seven second-chance points. Iowa was also out-rebounded 20-12 in total through the first 12 minutes.
** Iowa’s shot selection wasn’t great for parts of the first half. There were unnecessary disputed-threes being shot with plenty of time left on the shot clock. Fran McCaffery gives his guys the ‘ultimate green light’, but even on the sidelines, he wasn’t thrilled with some of the shots. With the way Iowa’s offense is designed, good shots can turn into great shots with one extra pass.
** Kris Murray showcasing himself as a different player than his brother, Keegan, in this one. All offseason long, he has been compared to Keegan, but Kris did a great job of doing a variety of different things in the first half. Despite some others struggling, Kris had 15 points (5 of 9 shooting), five rebounds and two assists. Kris has a high upside passing the basketball than Keegan and will help himself the more he gets his teammates involved.
** The Hawkeyes will have a bench that is capable of winning them games this season, but Friday night wasn’t there night. In 13 combined minutes, they had zero points, one rebound and two assists. Fran McCaffery went with his starters, mixed things up in the full-court press and rolled with the players that were hot shooting.
** Payton Sandfort is going to become one of the best shooters in the nation during the course of his career. He’s also going to be a pain in the butt for opposing coaches that have to scout him. The Waukee native moves well without the basketball and is starting to become a better shot creator. Sandfort has one of the quickest releases on the team and hasn’t been shy about firing away.
** After a rough first half, Iowa’s bench did some positive things in the second. Josh Ogundele had a pair of nice sneakers, a steal and four rebounds. Ahron Ulis got to the rim a few times and finished through contact. Others also got a couple of triples to go. The starters took care of business, but it was important for the bench to get some positive momentum before competition ramps up. Iowa had 34 second-half bench points.
** After Connor McCaffery hit a layup to give Iowa 101 points on the night, Fran got after his bench for not getting back on defense quick enough, which gave the Aggies an easy lay-in. Despite being up more than 40 points, McCaffery continued to get after his guys for allowing small mistakes.
** One of the things that has separated Fran among coaches is his teams’ ability to take care of the basketball. Iowa has a lot of returning pieces this season, but several newcomers that will be expected to play big roles. Despite the rough start, Iowa only combined for four turnovers on the night.
** Kris Murray finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Patrick McCaffery had 21 points, five rebounds and two assists. Sandfort chipped in 17 points, five rebounds and three assists.
The Hawkeyes return to action on Wednesday, November 16 when they travel to take on Seton Hall.
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