The Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0) played closer than their opener for much of the first half, with Alabama State keeping Iowa’s lead at 2 until the 2:21 mark. to play in the first half. Payton Sandfort caught fire after fouling two free throws, then made three threes (including a four-point play) and the Hawks went into halftime with a 49-37 lead. Sandfort finished with 17 points on 5/13 shooting and a team-high 12 rebounds, while Patrick McCaffery led the team with 22 points on 12 net shooting.

Here are some additional takeaways:

Payton Sandfort played like the best player on the team

Although Sandfort didn’t appear on the scoreboard until 2:32 remained in the first half, he remained engaged up until that point with five rebounds, three of them offensive. To start the second half, he was locked in, showing up on the court after grabbing rebound after rebound and racking up three assists in the frame. He is relentlessly positive as a teammate – regularly the first to celebrate a successful shot or greet players during a timeout.

Although he’s perfectly comfortable letting others score – Pat was fantastic tonight – he had great game sense to put some distance between the two teams with his outburst to close out the half. time. If he didn’t, Iowa could have found itself in a very close game until the end.

Free throws were rough

In both halves, Iowa quickly put the Hornets in trouble. Unfortunately, Iowa converted at a mediocre 65.7% rate on 35 attempts, points it can’t afford to give up in the next game at Creighton. The biggest offender was Ben Krikke at 3/8, who otherwise played a very good game in his second appearance in the black and gold of Iowa.

While Iowa struggled to manufacture points at the line, they were successful on the offensive boards with 19, resulting in 19 second chance points.

Brock Harding’s Fashion Train

While Harding made just 2 of 6 shots, his impact went far beyond the goal column, as he led the team with 7 assists for a second straight game. He also had two early steals with the game still in the balance. He did his most exciting work in the thick of the clock with multiple dazzling passes to give his teammates dunks.

There wasn’t much standout play from his fellow freshmen, as Owen Freeman battled foul trouble and the closeness of the first-half game forced the veterans to take the floor for the most part, but Harding appears to be the real deal.

Afterwards : at #8 Creighton, Tuesday 11/14 at 9 p.m. (FS1)

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