By Pete Ruden
Iowa picked up its first win in the Cayman Islands Classic by taking down UAB, 95-85, in its last opportunity of the tournament on Nov. 22.
The win secured seventh place for the Hawkeyes, who were led by sophomores Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook.
Both dropped career highs in the tournament’s final game, as Bohannon notched 30 points, and Cook racked up 29.
Bohannon was on fire from behind the arc, going 6-of-8 from 3-point range and helping the team to a 61.5 percent clip from deep.
In addition to the hot shooting from 3-point land, the Hawkeyes showed they could score from all over the floor, popping in an even 60 percent from the field.
Cook was electric from the floor — 8-of-11. He also made a big improvement at the free throw line, making 13 of his 16 shots from the stripe.
Luka Garza and Isaiah Moss were the other two Hawkeyes in double figures, putting up 14 and 12.
But Bohannon and Cook, who were on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team last season, were the stars of the show.
“I thought [Bohannon] was tremendous in all aspects. He really ran the offense well,” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “Anytime a guy makes 6 3s, that’s sort of what you focus on, but I thought they came after him. They rotated guys on him, they were physical with him. We wanted to go inside to Luka and to Tyler. Those guys both had big games, and it all starts with your point guard.”
Unlike Iowa’s game against South Dakota State — the Jackrabbits went 10-of-20 from downtown — UAB couldn’t get into a groove from deep, hitting only 7-of-25.
Iowa was also a lot better at protecting the ball. After committing 9 turnovers in just the first half against South Dakota State, the Hawkeyes only committed 11 in the whole game against the Blazers.
“We didn’t execute yesterday the way we did today,” McCaffery. “That was a point of emphasis, and I’m thrilled to see that it went down that way.”
The win was a big one for Iowa, coming off the heels of two-straight losses to Louisiana and South Dakota State.
After blowing out their first two opponents at home, the Hawkeyes needed something to get their confidence back, and this game might have done just that.
While it’s definitely nice for Iowa to get back on track, McCaffery didn’t think it was a must-win game.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “Obviously, we want to win every time we take the floor, but I wouldn’t say desperate [for a win].”