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Big second half propels Iowa past Portland State 85-51

Keegan Murray led the Hawkeyes with 23 points in an 85-51 win over Portland State on Friday.
Keegan Murray led the Hawkeyes with 23 points in an 85-51 win over Portland State on Friday. (USA TODAY SPORTS)

Box Score

Maybe they ate too much turkey and pie yesterday? A sloppy first half from both teams on Black Friday led to a close halftime score, but the Hawkeyes poured on 54 second half points to beat the Portland State Vikings 85-51 and move to 5-0 on the season.

The teams combined for 20/62 shooting and 25 turnovers, as the Hawkeyes took a 31-20 lead into the halftime locker room led by 21 points from Keegan Murray, who was not phased by everyone else’s struggles.

Marlon Ruffin had 13 first half points for the Vikings to keep them within reach.

Kris Murray spoke about the first half play saying, “We just needed to settle down. We had nine turnovers…It was a little unlike us…They were playing kind of a junk defense, so we just had to find the open spots.”

The second half came, and the Hawkeyes knocked the rust off early led by Patrick McCaffery who scored ten points in the first eight minutes of the second half to extend the lead. McCaffery finished with 14 points, which all came in the second half in his first game back after missing the last two with a leg injury.

“Took about a half to get the rust off. Got a bucket early in the second half. That always helps. My teammates kept giving me the confidence to go try to score…that’s what I did,” said Patrick McCaffery on his big second half.

Patrick signaled to the crowd in the second half that he was feeling healthy with a thunderous dunk over a Viking defender. It was one of the many electric dunks that brought the Carver crowd to its feet. https://twitter.com/IowaHoops/status/1464414745012936705?s=20

Tony Perkins, Kris Murray and Filip Rebraca all helped lead the charge in the second half, with Perkins and Murray each adding eight points after the break, while Rebraca cleaned up the boards with six rebounds.

Connor McCaffery was quiet from the standpoint of baskets made, but was his usual self-dropping seven assists, while turning it over zero times. They will need that from him down the road, as he can settle a game down and find open teammates without turning it over.

Keegan Murray finished with 23 points and while it is fun to watch Keegan score 25-30 points a night, Coach Fran McCaffery felt it was important to see the team come out in the second half and have big contributions from other players.

“I think it is important that I didn’t go back to him (Keegan). Those other guys, Patrick, Connor, Kris, Tony Perkins, Payton Sandfort. I mean that’s what I wanted. Once we got the big lead, I didn’t want to go back to him.”

The schedule ramps up over the next week with games vs Virginia, Purdue and Illinois coming. Patrick McCaffery says he is excited for the increased competition saying, “I love competition.

I’m ready and I’ve got dogs in the locker room that are also ready. I’m really excited and we are ready to make some noise over these next five games.”

“We’ve got a lot of new guys in new roles. I wanted to give them an opportunity to grow, develop confidence and play through their mistakes,” said Fran on the 5-0 start, with a tougher schedule ahead. “Play through your mistakes, look at different combinations, have guys play different positions. Knowing that from this point forward it’s going to very difficult.”

The Hawkeyes will travel to Charlottesville, Va to take on Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Monday. The game marks the first big test for the new look Iowa Hawkeyes and will serve as a measuring stick for the team as the progress into the tougher part of the schedule. The game will be at 6:00pm and televised on ESPN2.