By Dallas Jones
IOWA CITY, IA – Hawkeyes extended their undefeated start in big fashion Monday night with their 36 point victory Monday night. Tony Perkins was a late scratch, so the flow of the game was altered a bit.
After starting off slow with just nine points in the first five minutes, the Hawkeyes (specifically Kris Murray) picked it up and never looked back. Here are five takeaways I have from this game and the season so far.
Kris Murray is everything you need in a star.
Kris Murray came into this game averaging 21.7 ppg. A feat that is impressive on its own, let alone comparing it to his 9.7 ppg average last year. Tonight he took it to the next level with his career high 30 point (13-17 fg) performance including four three and zero free throws.
“No knock on Omaha, but he just made it look easy.” said Patrick McCaffery.
The road will only get tougher as teams will adjust to Murray’s rise as it continues.
Dasonte Bowen stock is on the rise.
Tony Perkins missed his first start of the season, which opened up a lot minutes at the point for Bowen. He put together another complete game with seven points, three assists and a steal. The biggest improvement I saw was his aggressiveness.
The refs were allowing a lot of contact and the freshman guard did not shy away from it, attacking both bigs and guards alike. His speed downhill combined with his athleticism is rare to see.
The guard position is as strong as ever.
Tony Perkins, Ahron Ulis, Dasonte Bowen, Payton Sandfort and Josh Dix. That is the depth that is at Fran McCaffery’s disposal and that is not counting Connor McCaffery who has served as a point forward many times in his career.
All five play both on and off ball with Perkins, Bowen, and Ulis handling a majority of the point position so far. The unit seems completely with scoring on all three levels, defense, and playmaking.
Bowen and Dix will be asked to play huge minutes as true freshman and four games in, that does not look like too tall of a task.
Tonight in Perkins absence, Ulis and Bowen combined for 14 points (5-11 fg, 2-5 3pt) and seven assists. Dix also had nine points on three made three pointers.
Payton Sandfort shooting slump continues, but has not slowed down.
A shooting slump unlike any Sandfort has probably ever faced in his basketball career finally came to an end Monday night.
The Waukee native missed 12 straight field goals in the Hawkeyes last two contests until his layup in the second half against Omaha broke that streak.
“You’re not a shooter, you’re a player.” Coach McCaffery said, “You can shoot, you can drive, you can post, you can tip it in, you can play defense…..It was great to see him settle down and make a couple of shots.”
He finsihed the game with eight points, six rebounds and three assists.
These wins are key in the grind of the season.
After today the Hawkeyes hit the road to Clemson and have a slew of Power Five opponents in the forefront.
They have an average margin of victory at 33.5 right now, but there is a lot to gain from those victories.
“I think the important things was getting those guys minutes (Ogendule, Dix, Bowen)….. that’s important as we move forward and play really good teams.” said Coach McCaffery.
The road ahead includes Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Duke among others. Big tests for a mix of veteran and new faces on this Iowa basketball team.
Check out what else Coach McCaffery and company had to say postgame here: