A look back at Iowa’s 87-65 exhibition win against Augustana (Ill.) on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena:
1. Not good from 3-point range. Iowa ranked 11th in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage last year at 30.5 percent. Sunday, the Hawkeyes were even worse, hitting just 2-of-18 3-pointers. Senior Zach McCabe sank the only 3-pointer in the game’s first 36 minutes.
McCaffery didn’t panic, but it wasn’t a good sign for a team that needs to show it can consistently hit perimeter shots after last season’s tough performance. True freshman Peter Jok, who is regarded as a prolific shooter, missed all six 3-point attempts.
“We’ve been shooting the ball well from 3‑point range,” McCaffery said. “Again, we started poorly. We jacked a few, they’re in the zone. It’s good to see Zach hit one early. He’s really the only one that hit one early. The other one we hit was late.
“But Pete was a little bit gun shy, which is not normally him. He just fired too quickly and missed a couple. He shot a little bit as an afterthought. I want him, if he’s open, to shoot it. And one time he had a wide open 3 and he tried to feed the high post and turned it over. Shoot the ball. He’ll get that figured out.”
Jok struggled to get in a groove at both ends of the floor, especially on defense. He finished with six points.
“It just felt weird,” Jok said. “The first game, I thought I shot it too quick. I wasn’t comfortable. I could feel I wasn’t comfortable. Now that I know the game speed in college, I’m going to adjust to it and just play better. ”
2. Foul odor. Most basketball observers knew rules changes were going to impact the game and add fouls. But like viewing a town devastated by a tornado, you’re never really prepared for the sight until you see it.
The teams combined for 52 fouls in the exhibition, 33 of which were committed by Augustana. Three Augustana players fouled out, one player had four fouls and three others had three.
The rules are geared to curb excessive grabbing by defenders and end most hand checks, and I counted at least six fouls that would have been called differently last year. Two involved McCabe: he was called for a block when last year he would have earned a charge; the other was in reverse.
“One of two things will happen: either the teams will adjust or the refs won’t be able to call it like that,” Iowa junior Aaron White said. “You can’t call that many fouls as the season because one or the other is going to happen.”
“I think it was invaluable in a lot of ways,” McCaffery said. “Clearly the game is going to be called differently at least for a while, if not the rest of the season.”
Iowa was decent from the free-throw line, knocking down 39-of-50 attempts. McCabe drained 11 of 12, while White sank 8 of 10.
3. Just what the doctor ordered. Iowa appeared disinterested at times against Augustana, and McCaffery called his players on it. The Hawkeyes have received heavy praise this offseason after a 25-win campaign last year. Throw in a 9-9 Big Ten record and 93 percent of its scorers returning, Iowa could make its case as a Big Ten contender.
But as all athletes know, you’ve got to prove it each time you take the court. Iowa’s players needed a dose of humility before playing its first five opponents, which combined for a 44-102 record. That includes Abilene Christian, a Division II school that finished 12-14 last year. It’s just as well that the Hawkeyes experience a chewing after an exhibition against a good Division III program than receiving the backfist of adversity against a team like Xavier in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis later this month.
“I think there’s a couple of ways you can go with this game,” McCaffery said. “You can schedule however you want. You can find a team that graduated everybody or you can find a team that’s got everybody back.
“You can play a team that was 10-17 or you can play a team that wins championships and is 19-8 and has a terrific coach (like Augustana).”
Iowa sophomore point guard Anthony Clemmons tweaked an ankle in practice last week and did not play Sunday. McCaffery said Clemmons will play Friday against North Carolina-Wilmington.
The Hawkeyes forced 17 turnovers but had 12 themselves. Iowa also produced only 13 assists on its 23 baskets, which drew McCaffery’s ire as well.
Iowa center Gabe Olaseni had two tough plays in the first half. He fouled Augustana’s Danielius Jurgutis on a 3-point attempt. Jurgutis made the shot and the ensuing free throw. Six minutes later Olaseni was whistled for a technical foul for apparently hanging on the rim after an alley oop pass from Devyn Marble.
“The good thing for Gabe was he came back and did some really good things after he made some mistakes,” McCaffery said. “And I think that’s a big step for him.”
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