CANCUN, Mexico — There’s nothing redeeming about shooting 16 percent from the floor.
Iowa found that out Wednesday night in a 75-63 loss to Wichita State in the Cancun Challenge championship game. The Hawkeyes hit just 4-of-24 shots from the field in the second half. Iowa’s looks were decent, but the shots didn’t fall.
“We were missing too many easy buckets,” said Iowa’s Devyn Marble, who shot 4-of-12 for 11 points. “Even when we were getting stops at the other end, you’ve got to score to get back into the game, and we weren’t doing that.”
Iowa (5-1) started strong from the perimeter, connecting on seven of its first eight 3-point attempts. Josh Oglesby drained four in the first half alone.
But from the end of the first half through the first five minutes of the second half, Iowa got smacked with a 16-2 run. Three of Wichita State’s baskets were on 3-pointers and another was on a traditional three-point play. Iowa went from leading 35-33 at halftime to trailing 46-37.
“We got a little bit rattled because they took the lead and they were getting blocked shots, they were getting steals, they were getting easy buckets,” said Iowa’s Aaron White, who scored a team-high 14 points and hit 11-of-12 from the free-throw line. “Once they took the lead, we started taking a little poor shot selection, not getting to the free-throw line as much as in the first half.
“We’ve got to learn from that. When things start going as coach says sideways, you’ve got to run your sets, you’ve got to get to the free-throw line. You’ve got to drive and kick and we’ve got to get some good ones. That tires them out on defense, and you end up getting a good shot.”
Perhaps the most distressing statistic came from Iowa’s inability to score within the 3-point arc. The Hawkeyes knocked down just four two-point field goals, including an incredible 22-minute stretch overlapping both halves.
“I thought we got pretty good looks,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “We just didn’t convert. We got to the free-throw line a bunch; that kept us in it. We missed some bunnies; that was unfortunate. But I thought we battled.”