Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, who's known for his fiery demeanor on the sidelines, finally lost it on the officials and got himself ejected.
Northern Iowa stayed calm, like it usually does, and turned a tight game against the Hawkeyes into an uncharacteristic rout.
Anthony James scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half and Northern Iowa blew past a frustrated Iowa 80-60 for its seventh straight win.
Jake Koch added 13 points and six assists for the Panthers (8-1), who hit 11 3-pointers and improved to 3-0 against major-conference opponents this season.
"They're young, and guys that are back are in different roles and new roles. I will tell you they're doing a heck of a job," Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said of his team. "I love how they're playing."
But the Panthers' steady play was overshadowed by a Hawkeyes meltdown.
Northern Iowa led by just two points midway through the second half. But three consecutive technical fouls by the Hawkeyes helped spur a decisive 20-2 run by the Panthers.
McCaffery, who was ejected with 4:47 to go after drawing his second technical, refused to address the events that led to his exit after the game.
"I thought our kids really fought hard (Tuesday) night, I really did," McCaffery said when asked about the technicals.
Devyn Marble had 14 points to lead Iowa (5-4), which played without starting point guard Bryce Cartwright. Cartwright is nursing a sore hamstring, and McCaffery said he's not sure if Cartwright will be ready to play at Iowa State on Friday night.
Northern Iowa was up 47-45 with 9:46 remaining when McCaffery went ballistic over a foul call, knocking over what appeared to be a basket of rosin from the scorer's table in disgust and drawing his first technical.
James knocked down four straight free throws. The Hawkeyes drew two more technicals one on the bench, another on Zach McCabe for punching the ball and Northern Iowa stretched its lead to 55-45 in just 20 seconds.
Iowa never recovered. James' 3-pointer with 6:20 left put the Panthers ahead 61-47, rendering the rest of a chaotic night at the McLeod Center as garbage time.
"He's doing what he has to do to get us fired up and help us win the game," Iowa forward Eric May said about McCaffery. "It happens."
Though it didn't last long, the Hawkeyes started out the game composed.
Iowa stunned the Panthers out the gates, running up a 10-0 lead in the first 3:12 by hitting five straight shots. Northern Iowa, which also fell behind by 10 early in a 69-62 win at Iowa State last week, calmly scored the next eight points to prevent the Hawkeyes from running away with things.
Chip Rank gave Northern Iowa its first lead, 24-23, on a 3-pointer with just over four minutes left in the first half. The Hawkeyes then left Rank wide open in the corner, and he converted a rare four-point play that helped put the Panthers ahead 32-27 at halftime.
Northern Iowa was 29 of 33 from the free-throw line with some of those attempts coming thanks to the Hawkeyes and shot 45.5 percent from the field.
Northern Iowa has three winnable home games left before the start of Missouri Valley play at Illinois State on Dec. 29.
"We've made a lot of improvements at the offensive end," Jacobson said. "They've really worked hard to get better game to game."
Iowa shot 59 percent from the floor and held James, Northern Iowa's leading scorer, to just two points in the first 20 minutes. Yet the Hawkeyes still trailed by five and their night only got worse from there.
"Coach (McCaffery) is real competitive, and he's going to fight for us," Iowa's Matt Gatens said. "He's sticking up for us, but it's unfortunate it went down like that."
Basabe 4-8 0-0 8, Marble 7-12 0-3 14, Gatens 3-9 0-0 6, McCabe 1-3 0-0 2, May 5-11 0-1 10, Olaseni 0-0 0-0 0, Oglesby 3-6 0-1 7, Brommer 2-2 0-0 4, White 2-3 3-4 7, Archie 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 28-55 3-9 60.
N. IOWA (8-1)
Mitchell 2-7 0-1 5, Tuttle 4-6 4-5 12, Moran 1-5 2-2 4, Koch 3-6 4-4 13, James 4-10 8-8 18, Rank 3-3 1-1 10, Morrison 1-1 0-0 3, Sonnen 1-3 8-8 11, Martino 0-0 0-0 0, Pehl 1-3 2-4 4, Lange 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-44 29-33 80.
Halftime_N. Iowa 32-27. 3-Point Goals_Iowa 1-12 (Oglesby 1-3, White 0-1, May 0-2, Marble 0-2, Gatens 0-4), N. Iowa 11-21 (Rank 3-3, Koch 3-4, James 2-4, Morrison 1-1, Sonnen 1-3, Mitchell 1-3, Moran 0-3). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Iowa 33 (Basabe 6), N. Iowa 27 (Tuttle 7). Assists_Iowa 10 (Marble 4), N. Iowa 9 (Koch 6). Total Fouls_Iowa 24, N. Iowa 15. Technicals_McCabe, N. Iowa Bench 2. A_6,834.