It wasn’t particularly beautiful basketball.
But on this night, it was more than enough to get the job done.
The Iowa Hawkeyes showed flashes of the team some pundits are calling a possible breakout team in the nation, but also showed their youth in a 86-55 victory over UT-Pan American Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. A crowd of over 14,000 was on hand for the game, the largest crowd for a season opener in over a decade.
The Hawkeyes had control of the game from wire-to-wire, led by a great performance from junior forward Zach McCabe. McCabe scored 14 points, knocking down all four of his three-point shots, and grabbed eight rebounds. Aaron White also added 16 points to begin his sophomore campaign. Adam Woodbury and Devyn Marble also recorded double digits for the Hawkeyes.
Woodbury, who stated it was a dream come true to step on the floor as a Hawkeye, said that it was a good first step, but there is still a long way to go.
“It’s the first game of the season, so there’s obviously a lot of room for improvement,” Woodbury said. “But anytime you can beat a Division 1 team by thirty points, you obviously did something well,”
Iowa also dominated the offensive glass, grabbing 18 offensive rebounds. Melsahn Basabe led the charge on the glass, snatching 10 rebounds, 6 of them on the offensive end. However, many of these rebounds for the Hawkeyes came on missed shots within two feet of the hoop, sometimes costing the Hawkeyes easy points.
Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery credited the physical style of the Broncs to some of his team’s struggles around the hoop, and added that his team needed to improve on grabbing loose balls after blocks.
“They are a team that doesn’t let you have layups, and they are very physical,” McCaffery said, adding, “we were 3-for-12 on 50-50 balls, and that has to change.”
The Hawkeyes also punished the Broncs on the defensive end, recording ten blocked shots and holding UTPA to 35% shooting and forcing 19 turnovers, many as a result of Iowa’s press. In his first game as a Hawkeye, Woodbury blocked three shots to go with his ten points.
UT-Pan American head coach Ryan Marks said the pressing defense of the Hawkeyes made it very difficult for the Broncs.
“I think their full court pressure is really good, and the guys on the ball, (Aaron) White in particular, do a terrific job on making it difficult to get the ball inbounds,” Marks said. “They just kind of dictated the game.”
The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena Monday night for a matchup against Central Michigan and former Iowa assistant coach Keno Davis, the son of UI legend Dr. Tom Davis.