The University of Iowa men’s basketball team stormed past Western Michigan, 109-61, on Tuesday on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes have opened the season with five consecutive victories of 15 points or more for the first time since 1997-98.
Sophomore Keegan Murray, who has been Iowa’s leading scorer in each of those outings, started hot, scoring the Hawkeyes’ first 17 points and reaching the 20-point mark in the game’s first 11 minutes. He finished with a career-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting. The forward complimented his stat line with six rebounds, three blocks, and two steals in 21 minutes of play.
Four total Hawkeyes scored in double figures, including freshman Payton Sandfort who tallied 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the 3-point line. Sandfort has combined for 40 points and 10 3-pointers over Iowa’s last two games versus Alabama State and Western Michigan.
Sophomore Tony Perkins and Kris Murray were two other high-flying Hawkeye scorers, putting up 15 and 12 points, respectively. Perkins hit 5-of-6 shots from the field and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw strike, while Murray approached double-double territory with eight rebounds.
Sophomore Ahron Ulis notched a personal-best eight rebounds to aid the Hawkeyes’ explosive offensive effort.
The Iowa defense forced 24 Western Michigan turnovers, including 15 steals and six blocks. The Hawkeyes converted on the other end for 36 points off turnovers, while shooting 53 percent from the field on the night and 21-of-23 on free throws.
QUOTING COACH MCCAFFERY
On Keegan Murray
“He never forces the issue, but obviously we need him to be the way he is now. He accepts whatever it is we ask him to do.”
On the defense tonight
“I thought the press was really good tonight, the activity whether it was in the press or half-court man was really intense. Fifteen steals and 24 turnovers, it was evident in the stats.”
On the second unit
“I saw what I expect from them. They’ve done it before. They don’t play like a young group even though they’re young. They play hard and they play together. They complement each other well. The young guys on the floor are very energetic and supportive of each other. It’s the same way the other way around when the other guys are in. That’s the way it has to be. That’s the kind of team we have.”
- Iowa scored a season-high 109 points tonight. The Hawkeyes have topped the century mark in three of five games this season (Longwood, Alabama State, Western Michigan).
- Keegan Murray, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, led the team in scoring for the fifth straight game to start the season. The Big Ten’s leading scorer totaled a personal-best 29 points, to go along with six rebounds, three blocks and two steals. The sophomore forward is one of two players from a major conference to start the season with 24+ points in each of their first five games (Kansas State’s Michael Beasley in 2007-08).
- Keegan Murray scored Iowa’s first 17 points and reached 20 points in the first 11 minutes tonight.
- Iowa, who leads the Big Ten in free throw accuracy, missed only two free throws tonight (21-of-23).
- Sophomore guard Tony Perkins and freshman guard Payton Sandfort each reached double figures for the second time this season. Sandfort netted 19 points, while Perkins had 15 points. Sandfort knocked down five 3-pointers for the second straight game.
- Iowa has made a combined 32 3-pointers over its last two games (12 tonight and 20 versus Alabama State).
- Redshirt sophomore forward Patrick McCaffery (lower body injury) and Josh Ogundele (illness) did not play tonight.
- Iowa has won 75 of its last 80 nonconference home games, dating back to 2012.
- Iowa improved to 86-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 61 points over the last 12 seasons.
- The Hawkeyes had a 13-0 scoring run in the first half. Iowa has had scoring runs of 10-0 or more a combined eight times in five games.
- Tonight was the first meeting between the two teams since 1951.
Iowa (5-0) concludes its six-game homestand to open the season on Friday against Portland State. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:01 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are available for purchase at hawkeyesports.com/tickets.