Big Ten champs
While I was talking about the Hawkeyes’ new football recruits last week, the Iowa wrestlers finished the Big Ten season undefeated, the men’s basketball team picked up a couple of wins and the women’s basketball team is in a big time slump.
When the Hawkeyes knocked off Nebraska, 31-7, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Feb. 10, they also won the Big Ten duals title.
Two days before, the Hawks took down Illinois, 25-12, but Matt McDonough lost his first match of the year.
Tony Ramos and Derek St. John are still undefeated, while Mike Evans and Bobby Telford are coming on strong.
It was good to see the Hawks, ranked second in the nation, take down No. 15 Edinboro Saturday, 31-6, at Carver last Saturday. The last home meet for the seniors and Matt McDonough went out in style with a 14-3 major decision. Matt was 36-1 at Carver.
Matt is in the top four for all-time win percentage at Iowa.
T. J. Williams is first (98-1, .990), Brent Metcalf second (108-3, .973), Lincoln McIlravy third (96-3, .970) and Matt (115-5, .958). That’s some pretty good company when you consider Tom and Terry Brands are fifth and sixth.
How about Tony Ramos, ranked second, getting a 9-0 major over third-ranked A.J. Schopp?
Derek St. John (157), Mike Evans (174), Nathan Burak (197) and Bobby Telford (Hwt.) also scored bonus points as the Hawks are cranking it up for tournament time.
Iowa men’s basketball
Iowa, which had lost two overtime games and two games by 3 points, held off Penn State Thursday at State College for a 74-72 win.
This time, the Hawks hit their free throws down the stretch, didn’t turn the ball over and held on to a late lead.
It sure is nice when Devyn Marble is playing his game.
The 6-6 junior played 31 minutes, scored 22 points, grabbed three rebounds and had three assists. Mike Gesell and Melsahn Basabe scored 13 and 12 with Mike only having one turnover.
I know Penn State, coming into the game, hasn’t had a victory in the Big Ten so far, but they play hard and a road win is good any time.
The Hawks made it three straight, taking out Minnesota Sunday at Carver, 72-51.
Even though Iowa trailed early on, 21-5, I wasn’t as nervous as I usually get.
“That just doesn’t happen very often,” said coach Fran McCaffery about the big comeback. “Unless you have character in your program. These kids just continue to impress and get better.”
The Hawkeyes have been in almost every game this year and I believed when they got rolling they would be okay… thankfully, I was right.
The Hawks can’t rely on just two or three players to carry them in each game.
When they are playing their best, all 10 in the rotation must contribute and all did Sunday.
It sure is nice when Devyn and Aaron are on, as they both hit 15 points.
Zach McCabe and Eric May each scored 10 off the bench and Mike Gesell had 11 points and no turnovers.
I like Mike back at the point. Anthony Clemmons does a good job coming off the bench, but when both of your point guards are just freshmen, the future looks bright.
Eric May might be playing his best basketball. He is the lone senior on the team, is healthy and has embraced his role coming off the bench.
Eric is shooting 47 percent from the floor this year and 77 percent from the free throw line, which are both career bests.
Iowa is 17-9, 7-9 in the Big Ten which puts them on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
Three more wins could be enough to get them dancing in March.
I’m not sure what has happened to the Hawkeye women.
They had a six-game winning streak going earlier in the season and were sitting at 16-4, 5-2 in the Big Ten before the sky starting falling.
Missed 3-pointers, breakdowns on defense, missing the front ends of one-and-ones and the other teams making 25-foot shots doesn’t help.
Penn State, ranked eighth in the nation, came to Carver last week and beat Iowa, 81-69.
The Hawks trailed 37-34 at half, but when Jamie Printy is held to only 2 points…
Iowa did have four players in double figures, with Morgan Johnson leading the way with 17. Melissa Dixon hit four 3-pointers coming off the bench totaling 16 while Bethany Doolittle and Theairra Taylor had 13 and 11.
Penn State plays a pressure defense that forced 20 turnovers, resulting in 18 points. They also outscored the Hawks 32-28 in the paint.
Iowa traveled to Purdue last Sunday with a five-game losing streak and a team they hadn’t beaten in West Lafayette since 1998.
Just when you thought it wasn’t safe to go into the water, lo and behold, the Hawkeyes smoked the 18th-ranked Boilermakers, 72-52.
When your backs are up against the wall, you can do one of two things… either give up or come out fighting, and Iowa chose the latter.
Samantha Logic, although she is only a sophomore, has all the talent to become one of the best point guards to play for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Samantha is one of the best passers in the Big Ten, averaging over six assists per game. She is tough on the boards and can match up on defense with almost anyone on the other team because she is so strong.
The only slight knock on her is she doesn’t score as much as most of the point guards that played for Iowa… until Sunday.
Talk about putting on a clinic. Samantha played 39 minutes, was 10-13 from the floor, 2-2 from 3-point, 4-5 free throws, nine boards and a career-high 26 points.
She had a lot of help with Theairra (15 points), Morgan (12) and Melissa (10) coming off the bench.
That might have been Theairra’s best game, with 11 rebounds and four assists.
“I’m proud of this team,” said coach Bluder. “We kept believing. I’m so happy for them to see that hard work and staying optimistic works.”
Iowa is now 17-10, 6-7 in the Big Ten.
Will the win get them into the NCAA tournament in which they host the first two rounds?
I’m not sure but it’s a step in the right direction.