Observations from Iowa’s Cancun Challenge Loss to Wichita StatePosted by KTrahan on November 22nd, 2012
Iowa suffered its first loss of the season on Wednesday, falling 75-63 to Wichita State in the finale of the Cancun Challenge. The Hawkeyes shot just 26.1 percent in the loss. Here are a few observations from the game.
Frontcourt play. Iowa made just four of 31 shots from inside the arc and could get absolutely nothing going inside. Even crazier, the Hawkeyes made seven threes and just one two-pointer in the first half, but still led 35-33 at halftime. However, Wichita State’s dominance in the frontcourt was too much for Iowa to overcome in the second half and the Hawkeyes didn’t have the physicality to keep up. Iowa has a lot of height, but it doesn’t have a seasoned big man to outmuscle other teams inside. Wichita State big man Ehimen Orukpe had five blocks and kept the Hawkeyes out of the paint. Iowa also didn’t get much out of center Adam Woodbury, who was clearly over-matched by Orukpe. The Hawkeyes must find a way to get points in the paint this year in the Big Ten.
Freshman struggles. Iowa freshmen Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury were both four-star recruits and have had stellar starts to their careers in Iowa City, but both struggled mightily on Wednesday. Woodbury was 0-3 from the field in 17 minutes and had one point. As mentioned above, he struggled with Orukpe’s size and could struggle with bigger centers one Iowa reaches Big Ten play. He certainly has talent and he has displayed that this year, but he might be a year or two — and a few pounds of muscle — away from being a very productive college center. Freshman guards typically adjust quicker than freshman forwards, and Gesell has played lights out all year. Wednesday was the first time when he really looked like a freshman. He played just 12 minutes and had no field goals, two points and three turnovers. The Shockers pressured Iowa’s frontcourt and Gesell struggled to get around the press, resulting in his first sub-par game of the season. Games like that will happen with freshman, even the ones who adapt to the college game very easily. Wednesday’s game was a learning experience for both freshmen.