Jok continues early dominance
By JASON BRUMMOND
IOWA CITY — Peter Jok scored 20 of his 27 points in the first half and Iowa cruised to a 95-67 win over Texas Rio Grande Valley on Sunday.
Tyler Cook scored 15 points and Isaiah Moss had a career-high 14 for the Hawkeyes (3-1), who shot 51 percent from the field and scored 41 points off 26 Vaqueros turnovers.
Iowa went on a 26-7 run in the middle of the game to pull away from UTRGV — including a faster start to the second half that coach Fran McCaffery has wanted from his young team.
McCaffery watched his Hawkeyes turn a two-point halftime lead into a 53-47 deficit in Thursday’s loss against Seton Hall — an eight-point swing in 4 ¢ minutes. On Sunday, Iowa pushed a 46-33 lead at the break to 20 points in just a few minutes.
“I’m really proud of how aggressively our team came out during the second half and executed,” said forward Nicholas Baer, who had eight points and seven rebounds. “I think that’s something we’ve been struggling with.”
Jok, Iowa’s top scorer and lone returning starter from last season, left a few minutes into the second half after a knee-to-knee collision with a defender during a drive to the rim.
Jok — who 9-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-8 3-pointers, in 19 minutes — stayed in to shoot his two free throws, but didn’t play after that as a precaution. Jok wanted to go back in the game to test his knee, but McCaffery wasn’t having it.
“The last thing I wanted to do was put him back in there and have something happen to him,” McCaffery said.
Antonio Green scored 17 points to lead UTRGV (0-4), which out-rebounded Iowa 43-38.
Iowa’s Brady Ellingson scored 11 points.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes needed this pick-me-up after Thursday’s tough loss to Seton Hall. Iowa still struggled from the foul line, hitting 20 of 30 attempts. It’s an area the Hawkeyes need to clean up as the competition stiffens.
UTRGV: The winless Vaqueros have struggled to find consistent offense this season. Turnovers are a big reason why. UTRGV has averaged 24.3 turnovers in its last three games, including a season-high tying 26 against the Hawkeyes.
Cook, a freshman, continues to show off his athleticism and leaping ability, finishing four big dunks in the first half.
During one stretch late in the half, Dom Uhl drove the lane and tossed an alley-oop to Cook for the two-handed slam. Less than a minute later, Christian Williams passed back to Cook in transition for an easy, wide-open dunk.
Iowa’s Dale Jones did not play after suffering a fractured wrist in Thursday’s game against Seton Hall. The backup forward is expected to miss 8-9 weeks.
Jones, a senior co-captain who transferred to Iowa from junior college in 2015, played in only six games last year before a knee injury ended his season. He was expected to add depth to the team’s frontcourt rotation this season.
Iowa faces a huge challenge in No. 8 Virginia on Friday in the Emerald Coast Classic in Florida. The Hawkeyes will play either Providence or Memphis on Saturday to wrap up the tournament.
UTRGV goes for its first win of the season against Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday.