Iowa hits 18 3-pointers, shoots past Savannah State, 116-84
IOWA CITY (AP) — Brady Ellingson hopes this early scoring outburst cements his role as Iowa's sharpshooter off bench.
Ellingson scored 21 of his career-high 23 points in the first half, Cordell Pemsl added 18 points and nine rebounds and Iowa breezed to a 116-84 win over Savannah State on Sunday.
The Hawkeyes (2-0) made a school-record 18 3-pointers and led by at least 20 points the entire second half. Iowa's 116 points are the most in Fran McCaffery's six seasons as coach and tied for the seventh most in program history.
Ellingson hit 4 of 6 3-pointers — a much-needed confidence boost after a rough start to his college career. The sophomore guard battled a foot injury during a redshirt season two years ago and was in and out of the rotation last season because of inconsistent play.
"(My confidence) was really high," Ellingson said. "I was really open, so I got to set my feet."
Troyce Manassa had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Savannah State (0-2), which committed 20 turnovers.
Tyler Cook scored 14 points and Peter Jok had 13 for the Hawkeyes. Nicholas Baer added nine points and a career-best six assists. Iowa's bench scored 76 points — led by Ellingson.
The Hawkeyes were out-rebounded in the first half, but came back to edge the Tigers 52-40 on the boards.
Iowa has won 39 of its last 40 non-conference home games.
Iowa: Pemsl wasn't the most prolific recruit in McCaffery's freshman class, but he's clearly going to be a factor off the bench for Iowa. At 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds, Pemsl is strong, but he has a great handle around the rim. Pemsl made all seven of his field goal tries and converted four and-one opportunities.
"He's just a really skilled big man," McCaffery said. "He has an innate ability to make a decision in traffic."
Savannah State: The Tigers have allowed 113 and 116 points in their first two games. They mixed up man and zone defenses against Iowa — neither were very effective. Savannah State had the best scoring defense in the MEAC last season, but it lost four starters from that team.
Jok never got into a shooting rhythm against the Tigers, finishing 5 of 15 from the floor. The senior made only one of his first six shot attempts.
This was two days after Jok scored 27 points against Kennesaw State — the most by a Hawkeye in a season opener since Adam Haulska's 29 against The Citadel in 2006. Jok's 27 points was also the most by a Big Ten player among Friday's games.
HE SAID IT
"We would have preferred a little more of a mixture of penetration, but we have good 3-point shooters," McCaffery said. "And we were open."
The Hawkeyes attempted a school-record 43 3-pointers. Iowa made just 7 of 22 3s in Friday's opener.
Iowa faces its first real challenge of the season on Thursday against Seton Hall (2-0) as part of the Big Ten- Big East series.
Savannah State plays Middle Georgia State in its home opener on Thursday before another tough test at Memphis next weekend.