The Hawkeye wrestlers took down the Nittany Lions, 22-16, last Friday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
What a great meet!
What a great crowd (15,000-plus)!
What a great win!
It’s been three years since the Hawkeyes won the Big Ten Championship and the NCAA title.
Iowa has one loss this year to Oklahoma State, but is the only unbeaten team left in the Big Ten.
Matt McDonough, Derek St. John and Mike Evans won one-point matches, Tony Ramos got a pin and Mark Ballweg got a major to lead the Hawkeyes.
“I’ve got a bit of a smile on my face because we won the close matches and scored bonus points,” said head coach Tom Brands. “That was the difference tonight.”
Matt McDonough, topped ranked at 125, started things off with an escape in overtime for a 2-1 win. The Penn State wrestler was ranked No. 2.
“It’s what you go to Iowa to wrestle for,” said Matt, who is 14-0. “To have a crowd and support like that is a blessing.”
Bobby Telford finished it out at heavyweight with a 9-2 win and for now the Hawkeyes are back.
Iowa still has some work to do at 149, 165, 184 and 197 but if the big three (Matt, Tony and Derek) can make it to the finals and four or five others can score points, the Hawkeyes could be tough to stop come tournament time.
The Hawkeye men had a home game against Penn State and a road trip to Minnesota last week.
Iowa needed a win over the Nittany Lions and they got it at Carver last Thursday, 76-67.
I know Penn State is 0-9 in the conference, 8-13 overall, but any win in the Big Ten is good and Iowa is 11-2 at home this season. It’s so important to take care of home court in the toughest league in the country.
Melsahn Basabe made his first start of the year, scoring 10 with 10 boards.
A lot of speculation was out there that Mel would replace Adam Woodbury at center. Instead, Anthony Clemmons sat down, Mel played power forward and the Hawks won the rebound battle, 38-32.
Aaron White went to the three and came up with a career-high 27 points.
Aaron seems to be in the right place at the right time when the Hawks need a big basket.
Mike Gesell didn’t score as starting point guard, but had four assists and two steals. Anthony came off the bench scoring 8 as the Hawks had 27 bench points to Penn State’s 12, plus Iowa hit 31-39 free throws.
Rebounds and free throws could be big keys all season if the Hawks are going to make a run at the NCAA tournament.
When you lose a close game like the Hawkeyes did Sunday at Minnesota, 62-59, the Hawks who played can look back on the game and wonder.
What if I made one or two more free throws?
Iowa was 10-17 from the line, Minnesota 14-21.
What if I made one more from the floor?
Iowa was 21-58 from the floor, Minnesota 22-49.
What if I made one more 3-pointer?
Iowa 7-23, Minnesota 4-16.
What if I grabbed one more rebound?
Iowa 35, Minnesota 35.
That’s a big tie for the Hawkeyes because the Gophers came into the game as one of the top rebounding teams in the conference.
Iowa did outscore the Gophers 27-0 from the bench but Devyn Marble was held scoreless.
Mike Gesell missed a 3-pointer that could have put the game into overtime but came up short.
I have no doubt that he will hit some game winners before he is done being a Hawkeye.
The effort is there… Iowa just needs to make a few more shots.
The Hawkeye women had a road trip to Illinois and a home game against Northwestern.
Lisa Bluder said in her press conference last week that Illinois is going to be “one tough basketball game.”
Boy, was she right!
The Fighting Illini knocked off the 24th-ranked Hawkeyes, 74-62, last Thursday at Champaign.
The coach went on to say that Illinois is an aggressive team and Iowa has to keep its composure.
The Illini came into the game with an 11-8 record, 4-3 in the Big Ten. They had won four games on the road and lost all three at home until they beat the Hawks.
Illinois has good talent and used their trapping defense to force Iowa into 27 turnovers, which resulted in 30 points.
It sure didn’t help that Morgan Johnson got into foul trouble again and fouled out with only 6 points.
Samantha Logic and Jaime Printy each had 13 points but they also combined for 15 turnovers.
The Illini came into the game shooting 30.6 percent from 3-point range.
Against the Hawks they hit 8-16 in the first half and 11-24 (45.8 percent) for the game.
I couldn’t believe that Illinois shot 19 free throws making 13 while Iowa was 1-2 from the line... are you serious?
The Hawkeye women have to be feeling like the men did when they lost 67-65 on a last-second shot at the buzzer Sunday.
Iowa led 29-18 at half, were up by 15 in the second half but couldn’t hold on and lost a home game to Northwestern.
I can’t believe the Hawkeyes gave up 49 points in the second half.
It was also surprising to see Samantha Logic pick up a technical foul and only go 2-5 from the free throw line. Morgan Johnson got into foul trouble for the fourth straight game and fouled out with 8:51 left.
Morgan did finish with 11 to go with Samantha’s 11.
Melissa Dixon hit six 3-pointers and finished with 21 but Iowa falls to 16-7, 5-4 in the Big Ten.
Iowa was ranked in the top 25 for the first time all season last week.
Now they have their backs against the wall. The Hawks have to turn it up if they want to make it to the NCAA tournament in which they host the first two rounds.