Hokies Outgun Hawkeyes
Last we saw Iowa, they were being outmuscled in the paint against a solid Wichita State team in Cancun.
On Tuesday night at Virginia Tech, Iowa gave up 46 points in the paint en route to a 95-79 loss.
46 points in the paint. You do that and you have no chance to win.
The Hawkeyes were on the verge of getting blown out of the game early in the second half, missing their first nine shot attempts of the second stanza. But after trailing by eight at the break and falling behind by as many as 17 points with 16:53 to play, Iowa went on a 14-0 run to cut the Hokies lead to three points with 13:00 to play. Iowa scored on seven straight possessions during that run with Devyn Marble taking over with three buckets and two assists.
That was the high point of the night as VT would push the lead back to double digits at 11 with 9:02 to play and Iowa never got closer than seven points after that. Four of VT’s baskets during this stretch were layups or dunks.
This is a surprising Virginia Tech team, as in they were fairly gutted after making a coaching change in May. They lost some prize recruits and were not expected to do much this year. They are 6-0 as of now but haven’t played a great schedule. However, they have been scoring a lot of points and that theme continued on this night.
Iowa’s strength thus far this season has been their defensive effort which was not on display as VT shot 52.5% for the game, 50% or better in both halves.
Iowa shot 50% in the first half and 47.1% in the second half and had three more field goal attempts than did the Hokies in addition to just one less field goal and the same amount of three point shots. But the difference in the game, aside from the easy baskets, was VT’s 27-30 performance from the stripe compared to 13-18 for Iowa. The Hokies got to the line 15 times in each half, but the 15 attempts in the first half were aided by some ticky tack officiating.
That said, Iowa did not lose this game on officiating. The Hokies 28 to 20 advantage in the paint in the second half was the biggest factor, or Iowa’s inability to keep them out of the lane.
The Hawks went to a 2-3 zone early in the second half and that fueled their 14-0 run, but when Iowa had to play man to man, it was tough sledding.
Adam Woodbury (7 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks) played well at times, but where he is consistently weak is on the glass. Weak is the key word here; he is not going to be a factor in that phase of the game for another year and he may prove to be a defensive liability come the Big Ten season when the bodies are banging and the refs swallow their whistles. He is far too easy to move around inside, which is not unexpected. He’ll improve in that area as the years go on.
If there were positives from this game, the play of Devyn Marble and Aaron White would be at the top of that list. Marble asserted himself tonight for the first time this year and took the game over at times. He was the best player on the floor and is one of the few Hawkeyes who can create his own shot. He scored 18 points (14 in the second half) on 9 of 16 shooting but did not make one trip to the free throw line. He also led Iowa with seven assists.
White led Iowa in scoring with 21 points on 8 of 15 shooting, half of those baskets being dunks. He also had 10 rebounds.
No other Hawkeyes scored in double figures although Josh Oglesby and Anthony Clemmons had nine apiece. Oglesby was 3-6 from three and continues to shoot well when not falling back on his shot. Clemmons did a nice job of attacking the rim in the second half and played 16 minutes as Iowa went with him for his defense until he fouled out late in the game.
Iowa falls to 5-2 with the loss after their one and only true road game of the out of conference season. As we discussed before the season started, Iowa could not afford any ‘bad losses’ in the out of conference if it had any chance of being an NCAA tournament team. I didn’t think they’d make the tournament this year but though they had a shot at the bubble. With 22.5% of the season in the books, I’d say the bubble seems a little optimistic and this team has the look and feel of an NIT club.
Three-point shooting is a real concern for Iowa (4-22 vs VT, 31.7% on the year) and the team is getting pushed around too much for my liking. It’s still November, so forming rigid opinions right now would be foolish, but this is back to back games against unranked teams where the Hawks were bullied and wilted late in the game.
Iowa return home to face Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Saturday.