By Jordan Zuniga
While the game may count toward Iowa’s regular-season record, it was essentially just another exhibition game.
That was apparent early and continually throughout the game.
Chicago State took the first lead of the game on an opening lay-up, but Isaiah Moss quickly reversed fortunes with a shot from deep.
The Hawkeyes never looked back.
The first half featured a cascade of Iowa 3-pointers and nifty post moves that resulted in a 52-27 halftime lead.
A new half changed nothing for the Cougars, as once again, Iowa outplayed them in every facet of the game until they reached the end of their bench.
Iowa shone particularly brightly from beyond the arc, making 12-of-22 for an eye-popping 54.5 percent.
It was certainly a percentage the Hawkeyes will take. But with the type of shooters this team has, it may not be a one-night phenomenon.
“We have a lot of shooters on this team,” point guard Jordan Bohannon said. “Coach has been giving us all the green light, so whenever we’re open, we’re going to shoot it.”
Bohannon and Moss tied for 3-point king, each netting 4, and Brady Ellingson made 2 coming off the bench.
Six Hawkeyes hit double figures in scoring, led by 6-11 freshman Luka Garza, who slammed home 16 points while snagging 5 boards in 18 minutes.
Fellow freshman Jack Nunge was the leader off the bench, which contributed 39 points. Nunge had 10 points and grabbed 4 boards.
While the two freshman towers made big contributions, returning Iowa players made an impact as well.
Bohannon contributed 12 and dished out 6 assists, Moss added 14 points, and Tyler Cook stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 12 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, and slinging 3 assists.
The frontcourt in general had the assist bug — 11 of Iowa’s 23 assists came from the Hawkeye big men.
While it may seem unusual for the bigs to have that many assists, it demonstrates the unselfishness that flows through this team top to bottom.
“Our guys really share [the ball],” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “They like to pass the ball, they’re good at it, and it makes us better. Every one of them is very comfortable with the ball in their hands.”
While the game provided the Hawkeyes a chance to show off the definition in their muscles, it is also a game to burn off any excess fat.
Their proverbial fat from the two preseason games was their defense and free-throw shooting. Defensively, the Hawkeyes seemed more fit, but free-throw struggles continue to linger.
The supposedly “free” throws were probably the most challenging part of the game for Iowa; the Hawkeyes made just 60 percent of them.
A big reason for that was the poor shooting of the freshman phenom Garza, who was a meager 4-of-8 from the stripe.
Both McCaffery and Garza acknowledged the poor performance, but neither seemed very concerned.
“It’s uncharacteristic of me to miss like that,” Garza said. “It’s something I don’t usually do. I’m always hitting them in practice; just sometimes, you have those games.”
Next, the Hawkeyes will play again on Nov. 12 at 3 p.m., when they’ll take on Alabama State in Carver-Hawkeye.