IOWA CITY, Ia. – Jarrod Uthoff didn’t know how long it would take to kick two years of rust off his game.
“I’ve been playing basketball every day,” said Uthoff, who redshirted the 2011-12 season at Wisconsin and did the same last season after transferring to Iowa. “But a game is a lot different. A lot of nerves. Playing in front of that many fans is pretty nerve-racking.”
The 6-foot-9 sophomore forward scored a career-high 19 points in 21 minutes Friday as Iowa defeated Penn 86-55 before an announced crowd of 15,400 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Uthoff, who seems to play with an economy of motion, made six of his seven shots from the field and all six free-throw attempts.
“I was making shots,” Uthoff said. “I was in the flow. I was feeling it. Guys were getting me the ball.”
A former Iowa Mr. Basketball at Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Uthoff dunked. He got to the rim on the dribble. He made pull-up jumpers, both in the half-court offense and in transition. He made a 3-pointer and scored on a conventional 3-point play.
Iowa’s Fran McCaffery said that Uthoff is easy to coach, and he has no panic in his game.
“Nothing rattles him,” McCaffery said. “He reacts to quickness. If you put a small guy on him, he reacts to size. If they put a bigger, stronger guy on him, he’s just going to move around and figure it out. He’s going to figure out how to be effective in that, because every game is different.”
Penn coach Jerome Allen, whose team fell to 1-3 but is picked to finish second to Harvard in the Ivy League, was also impressed with Uthoff.
“He played at his own pace,” Allen said. “He kept it simple. He made shots when he was open. He was active on the glass. He’s a pretty good player.”
McCaffery, who led the Ivy League in assists and steals in 1981-82 as a senior at Penn, improved to 2-1 against his alma mater. McCaffery also coached against the Quakers as a head coach at Lehigh and Siena.
“When I see the red and blue, I have tremendously fond memories of that institution,” McCaffery said.
Friday’s game was also a reunion for the Jok family. Dau Jok is a senior at Penn. His brother, Peter Jok, is a freshman at Iowa. They were on the floor together for the first time with just over 8 minutes remaining in the first half.
“It wasn’t him versus me,” said Peter, who scored eight points. “It was Penn versus Iowa.”
It was the first time they shared a basketball court in a regulation game since they were Des Moines Roosevelt teammates in the 2009-2010 season. They also shared the floor in the second half.
Dau played 15 minutes and got off six 3-pointers, but didn’t score.
“Those are shots I normally make,” Dau said. “(Friday), I didn’t. That’s just the way it goes.”
The Hawkeyes (5-0) now head to the Battle 4 Atlantis, an eight-team tournament in the Bahamas starting Nov. 28. Iowa faces Xavier in the first game. The field includes No. 2 Kansas.
“We recognize the caliber of competition we’re going to face next week, but I feel we’ve made a lot of progress,” McCaffery said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball