Iowa has alternated losses with wins after a 5-0 start to the season. The Hawkeyes will try to establish some more consistency when they host Southeast Missouri State on Saturday in Iowa City.
Iowa (7-3) is coming off a loss in its Big Ten opener against Wisconsin. Patrick McCaffery had a team-leading 24 points and made a game-tying 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in regulation, but Wisconsin pulled away for a 78-75 win in overtime.
The Hawkeyes have been without Kris Murray, their leading scorer and brother of former program star-turned-NBA lottery pick Keegan Murray. The younger Murray (19.4 points per game) hasn’t played since a 74-62 loss to Duke on Dec. 6 due to a “lower extremity” injury and he won’t play Saturday.
Also, Ahron Ulis (6.4 points, 2.7 assists, 2.0 rebounds per game) couldn’t go against Wisconsin due to a hip contusion. The Hawkeyes played just eight players that day, the end of a stretch of six games against power-conference opponents.
“We have some guys stepping up and some guys have had some opportunity because of injury,” coach Fran McCaffery said. “You don’t want guys to be hurt, but it’s an opportunity for guys to grow and we’re gonna need everybody as we go through the rest of the season.”
Southeast Missouri State (5-6) carries a five-game losing streak into Saturday’s tilt. The Redhawks started the year 5-1, highlighted by road wins over South Florida and Evansville, but haven’t won a game since Nov. 26.
Earlier this month, they scored a season-best 89 points in a 96-89 road loss to Missouri. Phillip Russell (team-leading 16.5 ppg) posted a game-high 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
“I feel good about where we are,” Redhawks coach Brad Korn said after that game. “We’ve won road games, which are obviously hard to do. We competed tonight. But I think that this (nonconference schedule) is going to prepare us for our ultimate goal and what we’re trying to do.”
The Redhawks lost 68-61 at Arkansas State on Wednesday in their most recent contest.
–Field Level Media