By Dallas Jones
IOWA CITY, IA – The Iowa Hawkeyes have a lot of growing still to do with a young team this season.
A matchup at home against Maryland Monday night gave them the perfect opportunity to get some momentum in the Big Ten and it was mission accomplished as Iowa hung on for an 80-75 victory, and was led by none other than Keegan Murray who scored 35 points.
The three-time Big Ten player of the week came out ready to show why he deserved that honor as Murray put up nine points in the first four minutes of the game.
“Obviously as a shooter, you think when that (first) shot goes, every shot should go in,” Murray said. “I kept hitting shots, kept getting open, and they were falling.”
The Iowa lead reached all the way up to twelve before the bench unit came in and Maryland went on a run. After leading 24-12, Iowa saw their lead diminish to just four. Coach McCaffery responded by pulling his entire bench unit that was in the game and returned to the starters.
They still could not slow the Terrapins down as Maryland captured its first lead of the night 33-30. The Hawkeyes continued to struggle on offense for the rest of the half.
At the break Maryland led 40-36, with Keegan Murray leading all scorers with 16 and Fatts Russel leading the Terrapins with 12. Flip Rebraca put together maybe his best half as a Hawkeye with nine points and four rebounds on a perfect 4-4 from the field.
Keegan Murray decided to take it upon himself to get the Hawkeyes going again in the second half as he put up nine points in the first four minutes of the second half. He made a 3-point basket to tie the game at 47 apiece.
Maryland didn’t wilt, however, and kept matching the Hawkeyes almost basket for basket.
The second half continued to go back and forth as neither team led by double digits for the entire half.
Then in the most important possession of the game, who else but Keegan Murray to come through again. The Hawkeyes were up 74-70 with just 1:05 left to play and right before the shot clock expired, Keegan Murray caught an air-ball and put it back in to give Iowa a six point lead.
Keegan Murray finished the game with 35 points and eight rebounds. Just as importantly, Filip Rebraca and Joe Toussaint had arguably their best games of the year. Toussaint finished with nine points, nine assists, and three steals, while Rebraca had 13 points and either rebounds.
Check out what the team had to say about their performance after the game here: