By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Iowa men's basketball team earned instate bragging rights against Iowa State on Thursday thanks largely to the performances of two players from out of state.
Missouri native Tyler Cook scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Illinois native Isaiah Moss scored 20 points as No. 18 Iowa defeated Iowa State 98-84 before an announced attendance of 13,414 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa ended a two-game losing streak with the victory and improved to 7-2 on the season while Iowa State fell to 7-2 after losing its first true road game of the season.
The game was highly emotional from start to finish and chippy at times, especially at the end when both teams had to be separated before leaving the floor.
Iowa State coach Steve Prohm was apologetic afterwards, but he said he was only trying to separate players from both teams at the end when an unidentified member of the Iowa staff told him to get his hands off the Iowa players.
"The stuff with all the interaction I apologize to Iowa and their staff if the repurcussions or interactions disrespected anybody," Prohm said. "I was just trying to make sure everything was status quo.
"But if we didn't represent, or I didn't represent in those moments the school the right way then I apologize. Right is right, but wrong is wrong."
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery tried to downplay the chippiness while meeting with the media after the game.
"It was a spirited game from the beginning," McCaffery said. "And that's what you expect. I have tremendous respect for Steve Prohm, I really do. They've got a really good team. They're going to win a lot of games."
Cook and Moss were among four Iowa players who scored in double figures. Senior forward Nicholas Baer and freshman point guard Connor McCaffery both came off the bench to score 14 and 12 points, respectively.
"I've always prided myself as a shooter and once you see a few go in you continue to hunt for your shot," Baer said.
Junior forward Cordell Pemsl also decided to play despite some soreness in his knee that was thought to require surgery. The Dubuque native provided a huge spark off the bench with eight points and six rebounds.
Freshman forward Joe Wieskamp also started in Thursday's game after having sprained his ankle in Monday's 90-68 loss at Michigan State. He played nearly 22 minutes and scored seven poits.
Emotions nearly boiled over late in the first half when Connor McCaffery had a heated exchange with Iowa State forward Michael Jacobson, who is from Waukee and played his first two seasons at Nebraska.
Seeing that McCaffery and Jacobson were chest to chest, Pemsl rushed over to confront Jacobson and played was stopped with 5:42 left in the first half.
Fortunately, the officials stepped in and cooler heads prevailed.
Jacobson then picked up his second foul with 5:02 remaining in the first half and then went to the bench for the remainder of the half.
Moss made his first four shots from 3-point range and was on fire throughout the first half. He scored 18 points in the first half on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and played the entire 20 minutes.
"It felt great, I got into a rhythm early, " Moss said. "My teammates did a great job of finding me and giving me the ball."
Iowa had a 44-24 advantage on the boards and had six players who grabbed at least three rebounds.
Cook was also a force on offense in the first half, finishing with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field. He rebounded a missed shot by Moss in mid-air and then made a rim-rattling dunk right before the buzzer to give Iowa a 45-38 lead at the break. `
Iowa State was leading 22-18 when Moss made a 3-point basket with 11:31 left in the first half. His basket triggered an 18-2 Hawkeye scoring that turned a four-point deficit into a 34-24 lead.
Iowa made 17-of-30 field-goal attempts in the first half, including 6-of-10 shots from 3-point range.
Iowa also had a 21-13 advantage on the boards and held the Cyclones to 42.4 shooting from the field in the first half.
So there was reason for Iowa fans to be optimistic heading in the second half and there was a buzz in the nearly-full arena.