The Hawkeyes started the game fast with an 11-0 run, and then finished strong to down Michigan 82-71 Sunday in Iowa City.
The win marks the first time Iowa has started off the Big Ten season with a 5-0 mark since the 1996-97 season.
Coach Fran McCaffery says they came out playing with the same intensity that they did in their previous win on the road, and were really sharp.
“Yes we were, but I though we softened a little bit, and I think that’s got to be something that we get corrected,” McCaffery says. “Because all of a sudden you are up 11-nothing and you look up and its 24-22. We just softened defensively because we got up 11-0. It looked like our offense was really crisp, which it was, but it was really a function of our defense.”
He says the defense was important in the second half when Michigan started getting hot from the outside. “I thought our zone saved us in that middle part of the second half — it took a lot of time off the clock — we got some stops and got the lead again. But then we went back man, and you’ve just got to make sure that the intensity level stays where it needs to be when you go from zone to man.”
Iowa got outrebounded by the Wolverines 33-27, but the Hawkeyes had only had four turnovers in the game. “You’ve got to take care of the ball, you’ve got to share it, and you’ve got to move it to the right person. And I think when you look at our team — that’s the most beautiful thing — we move the ball and we share it,” according to McCaffery.
Iowa’s current 14-3 record is the best start during McCaffery’s six-year tenure at the school. They players have been out of class for six weeks for the Christmas break, and McCaffery says that can sometimes be a worry, but they have done what they needed to do to stay sharp on the basketball court.
“These guys are constantly in the practice gym, they are constantly coming in and looking at film, they are getting in extra free-throw shooting time. So, we took advantage of that time, McCaffrey says.
Jarrod Uthoff led the Hawkeyes with 23 points, shooting 9-of-20 from the field. He has scored in double figures in every game this season. Peter Jok had 16 points, Adam Woodbury put in 12 and Dom Uhl came off the bench to score 10.
Uhl says that’s part of his role. “We just try to provide energy off the bench, a little scoring, rebounding, stuff like that,” according to Uhl. He says you have to pay attention to the game and be ready.
Uhl has been playing more inside, and says he has adjusted well to that. “I think it definitely helps my game, I’ve got to guard different spots. I still really play the way I played before, just a different position,” Uhl says.
Iowa has now won 11 consecutive Big Ten regular season games dating back to last year, its longest such streak since the 1969-70 conference season (14-0).