Hawkeyes advance in NIT
By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
IOWA CITY — Freshmen Jordan Bohannon scored 19 points with 11 assists, fellow newcomer Tyler Cook scored 18 with eight rebounds and Iowa opened the NIT with an 87-75 win over South Dakota on Wednesday.
Senior Peter Jok had 20 to lead the Hawkeyes (19-14), one of four top seeds in the 32-team event.
Iowa couldn’t quite shake South Dakota, which excelled at crashing the offensive glass and getting to the free-throw line. But the Hawkeyes finally took a double-digit lead on Ahmad Wagner’s layup with 8:31 left, and Wagner’s layup a minute later made it 68-54.
Bohannon’s 3 with just over a minute left put Iowa ahead 82-70.
Iowa, one of the last four teams left out of the NCAA Tournament, got 59 points from first-year-players — with Isaiah Moss adding 16.
Matt Mooney had 23 points for the Coyotes (22-12), who earned an NIT bid after winning the Summit League regular-season crown.
The Hawkeyes are one of the few teams that could argue that the NIT might actually be better for them than the NCAA Tournament. Iowa started four underclassmen nearly all year, and a long run in this tournament would give the Hawkeyes valuable experience heading into 2017-18 — when a trip to the NCAA Tournament will again be expected.
After finishing with a losing record in ’15-16, the Coyotes won the conference title this year. Losses in the conference tournament and the NIT shouldn’t take away from the fact that South Dakota improved greatly under third-year coach Craig Smith.
Iowa hosts TCU in the second round on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. CT.