Tag Archives: Hawkeyes

Kelly, Hawkeyes Can’t Quite Stitch Together Win Against Purdue: Hlas Column

(AP photo of Iowa’s Jake Kelly by Charlie Neibergall)

IOWA CITY — With his head bandaged like that of a fife player marching across a battlefield, Jake Kelly knifed for a lay-in with four seconds left in his team’s basketball game Saturday.

With the tape circling his head, the Iowa sophomore guard looked like the proper symbol of the Hawkeyes, a ragtag unit with their best big man (Cyrus Tate) and their point guard (Jeff Peterson) both injured and unavailable for duty.

Kelly’s score was also symbolic of Iowa’s day before a lively crowd of 14,665 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The basket pared No. 20 Purdue’s lead to two points, but wasn’t quite enough.

The Boilermakers left with a 49-45 win in a game as aesthetically ugly as its score, but one that certainly wasn’t lacking for ferocity.

It was a defensive tour de force for both squads, one that kept the fans energized despite Iowa’s baskets being few, and so hard to come by.

Kelly typified his team’s effort, not its result. He had to leave the court late in the game when he and Purdue’s Chris Kramer inadvertently butted heads. Iowa’s cut man, John Streif, worked on Kelly to clot the bleeding above his left eye that would later require three stitches.

The player returned and scored the last of his 12 points in the second-half and game-high 19 overall. But again, it wasn’t quite enough. Which is the story of Iowa’s 3-10 Big Ten season.

“If,” Kelly said, “no one would have gotten hurt all year — that’s pretty outrageous to say, but I think it would have been a totally different season.”

You play with what you’ve got. Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter stitched together a 7-player rotation Saturday, got a very productive season-high 32 minutes of 6-foot-7 forward Jarryd Cole in the middle, and had non-point guard Kelly share time at that spot with Jermain Davis in Peterson’s absence.

Throw in a fife and a couple of drums, and you had the portrait of Iowa’s squad.

But Kelly and Cole combined for 32 of Iowa’s 45 points in an offense that wasn’t really an offense. That isn’t intended as an insult, just a reflection about things not being entirely structured when Kelly was at the point.

“I didn’t know any of the plays,” Kelly said, “so we just ran high ball-screen all game.

“We weren’t running like quote-unquote sets, but we knew what we were doing. It wasn’t like we were just going out there and hooping. I don’t think it was like schoolyard ball. Just maybe a little organized than we’re used to playing.”

No, the ball definitely wasn’t the schoolyard variety. You don’t see defense like that from two teams in any driveway or playground, let alone the vast majority of most Division I gyms.

Purdue had to match Iowa’s defense with excellent lockdown of its own to get out of town with its 19th win.

But Kelly kept the Hawkeyes’ fire stoked, even putting them ahead with 6:54 left on one of his several cuts to the basket before he got cut himself.

Forty-five minutes after the game, Kelly had gauze on his sliced eyebrow that looked as gruesome as the game itself. But he didn’t sound like a wounded warrior.

“We had a packed house today,” he said. “We had so many fans supporting us. We’re not going to just give up and not put on a show for the fans. We’re going to work hard every days and we’re going to earn our scholarships.”

Purdue Coach Matt Painter, after collecting his 100th career win, called Kelly “the best player on the court.”

However, the sophomore player and Iowa’s head coach still ended up with their 23rd Big Ten loss in 31 games.

Last year, Lickliter needed more players. A lot of them. This year, he needs more players. A few, anyway. Especially those with size and those who can, as the expression goes, can create their own shots.

The “playing hard” thing and the “buying into the system” deal, those don’t seem to be issues. The Hawkeyes had all sorts of reasons to phone in this game, and instead played harder. Which should have come as no surprise to regular observers of the squad.

The losing wears on everyone, from the head coach to the fan in Row 35. But if nothing else, the right attitude seems to be in place for future success if the talent becomes adequate enough to accompany it.

Kelly certainly seems like a primary piece of the plan for the next two years, if he can stay in one piece. He spent his Saturday night icing the cut eye and a sore hip.

“It’s a hip pointer,” he said. “I fall on it. I’m pretty skinny, so I don’t have much meat there.”

That’s his team, too. Too thin.

Round up some beef on the recruiting trail, Coach Lick. The fans are getting hungry, and hungry people eventually get impatient.


Hlas Column on Hawkeyes’ Much-Needed Win Over Northwestern

Big down the stretch

Devan Bawinkel: Big down the stretch


IOWA CITY — It was a most peculiar game in many aspects, yet it felt so right for Iowa.

“A win is a win,” said a pleased fan leaving Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday evening. But some wins are better than others, and this was one of the better ones.

It wasn’t a great achievement in terms of importance, and it certainly wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing victory in Hawkeyes men’s basketball annals. Beating Northwestern at home has almost always met expectatons, not produced joy.

But Iowa’s 56-51 triumph over the Wildcats felt so good to the victors and their 12,555 fans here. It was needed, and it was earned.

“I can’t imagine if you’re a Hawkeye fan walking out of here disappointed with this group,” said Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter.

In fact, the vibe was surprisingly good from before tip-off until Jarryd Cole’s last-second shot block to punctuate the win with a crowd-delighting exclamation point.

Maybe it was the pleasing weekend weather that established the good feelings. Maybe it was the accommodating 5 p.m. starting time. Maybe it was reduced ticket prices.

Whatever the case, this wasn’t a Carver with wide swathes of empty seats, or of fans looking for any excuse to climb up the steps early for a head-start on beating traffic. The mood was good, and the Hawkeyes added to it with 40 minutes of effort.

“This crowd showed up to support a group of guys that have been playing hard and haven’t been rewarded,” Lickliter said. “I think that was instrumental in us playing with the kind of spirit we needed to complete this game.


Todd Lickliter: Victory

This wasn’t a woeful Wildcats roster. This was a team that had done the unthinkable two weeks earlier and won at Michigan State. This was a team that had won four of its previous five Big Ten games, and had the NCAA tournament in at least some corner of its mind.

“They’re very capable,” Lickliter said. “Very capable.”

But the Hawkeyes played defense.

Northwestern’s 37.5 percent shooting from the field was better than Iowa’s, but it certainly wasn’t good enough to offset the Hawkeyes’ aggressiveness. Each time it seemed the Wildcats were wresting momentum away, it got wrested right back.

Usually, a 3-pointer did the trick. The “peculiar” aspects of this game mentioned earlier? Those would be topped by Iowa making 12 threes, and just two 2-point baskets. Thirty of the Hawkeyes’ 40 shot-attempts were 3-pointers.

Playing a 1-3-1 defense that clogs the arteries to the hoop, Northwestern virtually begs you to keep chucking threes. Iowa kept chucking them.

It wasn’t as if the Wildcats’ offense looked much more well-rounded. They shot more threes than twos, too. Craig Moore put up 18 shots for NU. All were from beyond the arc. Only six went in.

Guard Devan Bawinkel got his first start for Iowa. He shoots threes. In fact, all but four of his 90 shots this season have been threes.

He made a 3-pointer 33 seconds into this game. He made a trey with 1:05 left in the game for a 48-46 lead that Iowa didn’t surrender.

Bawinkel had missed his previous seven shots before that big basket — and one was even a 2-pointer! But when he was open and the game was up for grabs, he didn’t hesitate to try another. The swish helped make those 12,555 fans and his teammates feel good. It made Bawinkel feel good, too. How do we know this?

“It just feels good to win,” Bawinkel said. “It feels really good to win. To beat a Big Ten team just feels really good nowadays.”

This is still a team that’s 3-8 in the Big Ten and may have to do well just to match its 5-13 league mark of last year. This is still a green club with deficiencies and voids. Rome isn’t being built in a day, or two years.

But when rolling over and playing dead might have been the easiest performance to give, at least these guys have chosen something far more dignified. Guard Jeff Peterson certainly has.

Peterson played 40 minutes. He lost the ball six times, but had four steals, five assists, and a team-high 16 points. He followed Bawinkel’s biggest 3-pointer of the year by stripping Northwestern’s Michael Thompson of the ball and sinking two free-throws after Thompson’s frustration foul.

Then, with 5.6 seconds remaining, Peterson secured the win with another pair of foul shots.

Peterson needed this win. Everyone in his locker room did, as well. There was a reason Lickliter was high-fiving fans on his way off the arena floor.

“Losing and learning is not as bad as losing and not learning,” said Lickliter, “but it sure isn’t much fun.”

A 4-game losing streak that began with a giveaway at Penn State and ended with something yucky at Indiana had ended.

It was a sunny Saturday here, outside and within the gymnasium. A lot of yucky stuff had melted away, if only for a day.

A win is a win.

Northwestern-Iowa football on ESPN Classic???


Will someone please explain how or why Saturday’s Northwestern-Iowa football game is on ESPN Classic? Does ESPN know something about this game that we don’t?

No offense to either team, but doesn’t an event have to prove itself to be a classic before it can be defined as one? And frankly, how likely is it that the Wildcats and Hawkeyes will team up to play a game that ranks among the best Kinnick Stadium has ever hosted?

Here’s ESPN’s description of ESPN Classic:

ESPN Classic is a 24-hour, all-sports network devoted to telecasting the greatest games, stories, heroes and memories in the history of sports.

It seems an exaggeration based on Saturday’s programming. Take a look. All times are Eastern, and all of these links are dead.

11:00a – Billiards – 2005 Men’s Trick Shot Magic, First Semifinal
 12:00p – College FootballNorthwestern at Iowa
 3:00p – Drive to the New York Auto Show
 4:00p – Drive to the Los Angeles Auto Show
 5:00p – Drive to the North American International Auto Show
 6:00p – Drive to the Chicago Auto Show
 7:00p – Drive to the New York Auto Show
 8:00p – Boxing – 2001: Acelino Freitas vs. Alfred Kotey
 9:00p – Boxing – 2005: Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo
 10:00p – Boxing – J.C. Chavez
 11:30p – Boxing – 1988: Tyson/M. Spinks
 12:00a – 2007 World Series of Poker

If Iowa and Northwestern play the Game of the Year in college football, or even the Game of the Day, it probably will be the most “Classic” event ESPN Classic airs all day.

But doesn’t it have to establish itself as a classic first? It seems like a lot of needless ressure to put on the two teams.

Go out there and play one of the most stirring football games mankind has ever seen, men. Don’t just play hard. Do amazing things, things that far transcend anything you’ve ever done in your lives.

No, this game looks like Big Ten Network material. You know, where the league’s many so-so games are shown each week.


Hawkeye Fans, the Hlog is Listening


Feeling a little hang-dog about Iowa’s 21-20 football loss at Pittsburgh?

Go ahead and vent. The Hlog will compile your emotions and present them here Sunday. 

Keep it clean, please. The Hlog doesn’t work blue.

Pittsburgh: Black and Gold Everywhere

(AP photo)

So I rolled into Pittsburgh about 1 p.m., Eastern time, and saw a lot of people on downtown streets wearing black-and-gold jerseys.

Ah, the Hawkeye fans are already here en masse, I thought.

I thought wrong.

Pittsburghers like to wear Pittsburgh Steelers garb. Judging by how many adult men and women were donning No. 7 Ben Roethlisberger jerseys on a work day (Casual dress Fridays to the extreme?), I’d say Ben is No. 1 here in the Steel City.

Hey, the guy did quarterback a Super Bowl-champion team here three seasons ago.

But it isn’t just Roethlisberger’s name featured on jerseys worn by the locals. It’s receiver Hines Ward. It’s defensive back Troy Polamalu. It’s linebacker Jack Lambert, who hasn’t suited up for the Steelers in three decades or so.

For once, Hawkeye fans have gone to another city and were forced to blend in with the natives. That must have been a strange feeling.

For all of you who have opted to stay home Saturday instead of making the trip here for the Iowa-Pittsburgh game, know that I’ll be live blogging starting at 10 a.m. Iowa time. I’ll describe what Saturday morning looks like here. And what Friday night looked like. I’m going to the Houston Astros-Pittsburgh Pirates game, and there will probably be more Hawkeye fans there than Pirate fans.

Which may not be saying much given the sad state of the Pirates.

Tour Guy: Kinnick Experience Good, But By No Means Great

(Tour Guy photo)

Through the magic of SI.com, we lead you to Tour Guy.  He goes to college football games each week, tailgates with fans, takes photos, sees a little football, and writes about it.

There are worse jobs in life. Lots of them.

Tour Guy came to Iowa City last weekend for the Iowa State-Iowa extravaganza. He wasn’t overwhelmed.  In the words of Milli Vanilli, blame it on the rain.

The post: http://www.fannation.com/blogs/post/254115

The video: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/video/ncaafootball/2008/iowa.olympics/

Steve Alford: New Mexico Has Given Me What Iowa Didn’t

Iowa just doesn’t rank with the rest of the Big Ten when it comes to men’s basketball facilities and niceties.

Is that a statement of fact? It’s quite possible. But does Steve Alford need to say it now that he’s in New Mexico instead of Iowa? That’s arguable.

Alford doesn’t go around ripping Iowa. But when he’s asked about how fabulous everything is in Albuquerque for him, he uses Iowa as a reference point. He did so again in a new ESPN.com interview with his pal, Andy Katz.

“The last couple of years at Iowa, it didn’t matter how hard I worked,” said Alford. “We were going up against [Big Ten teams] that had more bullets in their gun.”

“I want to be here,” Alford said. “It’s got everything I’ve ever wanted. … But I couldn’t get it [at Iowa]. And if you don’t have it, then it’s not good enough to compete with Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan State year in and year out if your facilities aren’t as good, if not better.”

Oh brother. Is he telling us that he didn’t recruit a single player who was drafted by an NBA team in his 8-year Iowa tenure because of the program’s facilities? 

Was it just the facilities as the explanation why Alford left his Iowa successor, Todd Lickliter, without more than a couple of players who would be starters at any other Big Ten program other than maybe Northwestern? It seems unlikely.

Is this beating a dead horse? Of course. But when a former Iowa coach says such things about the school and its facilities, it’s news. Here’s the link to the ESPN story: