By Pete Ruden
At Iowa basketball’s media day on Oct. 16, head coach Fran McCaffery said point guard Jordan Bohannon reminded him of Golden State Warrior point guard and former MVP Stephen Curry.
When Iowa took on Chicago State in the opener on Nov. 10 in Carver-Hawkeye, it didn’t look like he was wrong.
Instead of just Bohannon hitting 3s, though, the rest of the team chipped in as well. In the 95-62 Iowa victory, Bohannon and Company took advantage of their shooting ability, hitting 12-of-22 shots from 3-point range.
In the first half alone, the Hawkeyes made 50 percent of their 3s, good for 40 percent of their total points.
They somehow stepped it up even more in the second half, shooting 62.5 percent from beyond land.
In fact, Iowa hit so many shots from downtown that its 3-point percentage (54.5) was almost as high as its free-throw percentage (60).
Bohannon and Isaiah Moss led the charge from behind the arc, as each knocking down 4, and Brady Ellingson followed, going 2-of-4.
With six players scoring in double figures and a team field-goal percentage of 59.6 percent, the Hawkeye offense was clicking on all cylinders.
“Tonight, it was a lot of guys who scored in double figures, so that just shows that moving the ball around is good for us,” Moss said.
While Peter Jok’s absence will have an effect, it didn’t really matter against the Cougars.
Moss put on his best Jok impression. While the sophomore can get his buckets almost any way he wants, he did it from 3-point land.
After battling an ankle injury he suffered in the first exhibition game against William Jewell, he bounced back in a big way to use his smooth jump shot and knock down 3-pointers throughout the game.
McCaffery said he looked like an NBA player on the team’s trip to Europe in the off-season, and he didn’t disappoint anyone in Hawkeye Nation in the opener.
“He’s incredibly talented,” McCaffery said. “If he pulls up, and he’s open, you’re surprised if it doesn’t go in. But he gives it up easy, he’s not hunting shots. He knows he’s got the green light, he knows he’s got my full confidence in him, and he’s playing that way. I’m really proud of him.”
A key to the 3-point explosion was the play in the post.
True freshmen Luka Garza and Jack Nunge got the job done inside, while sophomore Tyler Cook added a “veteran” aspect inside the arc.
Garza and Cook were incredibly efficient, neither missing a shot all game. The two combined for 28 points on 10-of-10 shooting while grabbing 11 boards in the process.
The frontcourt contributed 11 of the team’s 23 assists as well. The big men were guarded heavily in the post for much of the night, which opened the floodgates for a great shooting performance.
“We have a lot of shooters on this team, and Coach has been giving us all the green light, so whenever we’re open, we’re going to shoot it,” Bohannon said. “Especially when you have a team like that that’s double- and triple-teaming down low, we’re going to get open shots. Our big guys did a really good job of finding us.”