By Dallas Jones
IOWA CITY, IA – Before the Hawkeyes get back into conference play, Iowa faced off against the Leathernecks of Western Illinois and looked to extend their win streak to three.
After losing three straight against quality opponents Purdue, Illinois, and Iowa State. This was a game for Iowa to gain confidence and tighten up before Maryland on Monday.
“We lost to three really good teams, two on the road,” Coach McCaffery said after the win Wednesday night, “No panic, we stayed together. That’s the kind of team we have.”
The team continued their hot offensive stretch as Keegan Murray led all scorers with 18 points, Payton Sandfort added ten points of his own off the bench.
In the first half, they really turned the tide of the game when the Hawkeyes turned a 28-21 lead into a 51-31 lead in just a few short minutes.
Iowa shot over fifty percent from the field and three at half, while also holding one of the better three point shooting teams around to just 15.9% on 19 first half attempts. They finished the half up 53-33.
While the Hawkeye defense stepped up many times tonight, it was Wapello, Iowa native Trenton Massner who gave the Hawkeyes lots of troubles as he finished with 20 points.
“We all know that those guys wanted to play here as well. So anytime you play against those kids you know you’re going to get the best of their abilities.” said Jordan Bohannon.
Betttendorf native Will Carius also started for the Leathernecks. Words were exchanged between Carius and Murray a couple times and you could tell that the guys on the Leathernecks had something to prove.
“There’s obviously a lot of guys talking.” said Keegan Murray, “They had a couple guys so that always makes it fun to play against……there’s a little talking back and forth, but that’s basketball.”
Unfortunately Keegan Murray decided to prove why he is one of the Big Ten’s best as he put together an impressive second half to go along with his first. He finished the game with 29 points and 10 rebounds.
The next scoring leaders were both Sandfort and Bohannon with 13 a piece.
The game finished with a final score of 92-71. Iowa moves to 10-3 on the season and matches up with Maryland on Monday, January 3rd.
Check out postgame comments on the matchup right here: