IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa started slow and never found the outside shot. The Hawkeyes eventually sped up the pace and pulled away from Alcorn State. Now their attention can shift to their in-state rival. Aaron White scored 15 points and Iowa overcame a sluggish first half in a 67-44 win over the Braves on Tuesday night. The Hawkeyes (8-2) have won six straight games heading into Friday’s showdown with No. 14 Iowa State.
“Our guys are playing well together,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “Very unselfish team, sharing the ball, rebounding the ball, not turning it over. Do that, you’ve got a chance.” Jarrod Uthoff scored 13 points and Gabe Olaseni added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawkeyes, who have won 31 consecutive nonconference home games.
Leantwan Luckett scored 12 points for Alcorn State (1-6). The Braves shot 33 percent from the floor. White, who has scored in double figures every game this season, made 9 of 10 free throws. The senior is shooting 87.7 percent from the foul line this season on a Big Ten-leading 73 attempts. The Hawkeyes opened the game like their focus was already turned to Friday’s home game against Iowa State.
Iowa took 16 minutes to build a double-digit lead. The Hawkeyes missed seven straight field goals during one stretch and shot 1 of 6 in the final two minutes before halftime. Iowa shot 38 percent in the first half. The Hawkeyes tightened up their defense in the second half to get easier buckets. Iowa put together a 17-2 run during an eight-minute stretch where Alcorn State didn’t hit a field goal. The Braves missed 10 straight shots. “It’s just one of those games where we had to play our tempo and not theirs,” guard Mike Gesell said. “We did a better job in the second half.”
Iowa struggled from outside, tying a season-low by making only 3 of 19 attempts. Peter Jok, coming off a career-high 15 points on four 3-pointers against Maryland-Baltimore County, hit only 1 of 5 3s against Alcorn State. Josh Oglesby misfired on all five of his attempts. Alcorn State wasn’t any better. The Braves failed to make a 3-pointer for the first time all season, missing all eight attempts.