By Dallas Jones
IOWA CITY, IA – There were two big changes for Iowa basketball Sunday afternoon. First, assistant coach Billy Taylor took the helm as head coach in place of Fran McCaffery, who is out due to health and safety protocols.
“Fran likes to say every game is a snowflake. Every game is different.” Taylor says, “We tried to make it as normal as possible for the guys, so that they wouldn’t feel the impact of the affect.”
There was also a much anticipated change in the starting lineup, with Joe Toussaint moving to the bench, Tony Perkins starting at the shooting guard position and Jordan Bohannon slid over to the point.
While Iowa struggled to score in the first half, it wasn’t because of a lack of open looks.
Iowa shot just 38% from the field in the first half and 41.7%, meaning they somehow shot better from outside the arc than in. Keegan Murray and Patrick McCaffery were a bright spot in the first half.
Murray almost notched a double double before half with 14 points and nine boards, while McCaffery added seven points of his own.
After a steal leading to a half-court heave by Luke Loewe, Minnesota led Iowa 38-34 at the break. Loewe was tied with Payton Willis for the lead in points at half with eleven each.
In the second half Minnesota got off to a hot start, knocking down three three’s in the first few minutes. They extended their lead to seven, 49-42.
Then came Iowa’s run, a monster 19-4 run led by of course Keegan Murray and the Iowa defense, specifically from Ahron Ulis.
Iowa forced multiple shot-clock violations during the run and the old saying is true, defense leads to offense. As Iowa only allowed 21 points in the second half, just 16 points in the paint for the entire game.
The lineup that led this run was Ahron Uhlis, Jordan Bohannon, Patrick McCaffery, and the Murray brothers.
A smaller, but very aggressive and agile lineup on both ends of the court.
Uhlis and Bohannon seem to work very well off each other as Uhlis is more of a traditional point guard and Bohannon acts as a sharpshoot outside. This lineup could be crucial for the Hawkeyes as we get closer to March.
The Gophers could not recover from this run as Iowa closed out the game with a final score of 71 to 59.
Keegan Murray added to his Wooden award campaign with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Patrick McCaffery put together one of his best performance of the season, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds.
Also worth noting that Ahron Uhlis contributed nine points and five assists in 21 minutes of play. We will have to watch the guard rotation closely as it seems the Hawkeyes are riding the hot hand game-to-game now between Uhlis-Toussaint-Perkins.
After the game, acting Head Coach Billy Taylor and players spoke about the game. Check out what they had to say here: