The start was nearly perfect. And the finish was less than ideal.
But when it was all said and done, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery likes what he sees from his Hawkeye squad heading into the holidays and eventually the Big Ten season.
Eight players scored at least six points and Josh Oglesby made a triumphant return to the lineup by scoring 13 points and hitting four 3-pointers as Iowa led big at halftime before recording an 86-61 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff in front of a sellout crowd of 15,400 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It was Iowa’s 17th straight victory at home.
“I was honest with you guys. I told you that he looked really good and he looks like he's in pretty good shape,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. “But not only did he make shots, he was passing it well. He looked very comfortable out there I thought.”
Jarrod Uthoff was the only Hawkeye who took more than five shots from the floor. He was 6-of-8 from the floor in the game and buried 3-of-4 from long range in scoring a team-high 16 points and grabbing five boards.
Adam Woodbury was a third Hawkeye player in double figures as he scored a season-high 10 points in the win. Melsahn Basabe added nine points and five rebounds, while Aaron White and Roy Devyn Marble each had eight points. Gabe Olaseni chipped in six points and six rebounds and Zach McCabe pulled down a team-high seven boards.
The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 9-0 lead but led 24-3 with 12:44 to play in the first half. Iowa pushed the lead to 39-5 before heading into the locker room up 52-15 at halftime.
“We’ve got a lot of different players who are capable of making threes and we're going to be an unselfish team, so we are sharing the ball,” said McCaffery said. “For example, tonight, the way they played that zone, you have to keep moving it and you have got to keep passing, making shots, faking in and out, side to side, skip pass, shot fake drive, skip it again.”
McCaffery went with his second unit at the start of the second half. Arkansas-Pine Bluff took advantage of Iowa’s scout team for most of the second half and outscored the Hawkeyes (11-2) 46-34 in the final 20 minutes.
The Hawkeyes shot 62 percent from the floor, hit 10-of-17 from long range and out-rebounded A-PB 42-27. They also scored 47 bench points and won despite turning it over 27 times.
“I don't care about that really,” McCaffery said of the way Iowa finished the game. “They were pressing the scout team. I've got a lot of inexperienced guys out there. It's no big deal.”
Tevin Hammond had a game-high 19 points and five assists to lead Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-9), while Marcel Mosley and Davon Haynes each added 11. A-PB made just 34 percent from the floor and was 8-of-26 from long range.
The Hawkeyes went 11-2 in the non-conference season for the second straight year.
White played just eight minutes, while Marble was on the court for 10 minutes. Neither stepped on the court in the second half.
“Whitey was sick. He missed practice yesterday, and we didn't know if he would play at all, so I was not going back to him,” McCaffery said. “With as sloppy as the game ended, I wasn't going to put Marble out there and get him hurt with a goofy play. That's pretty much my thinking there.”