Iowa Overpowers E. Illinois


Instead of being excited about coaching his first game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa's Steve Alford instead had a headache.

From yelling.

"We had a fun halftime. They gave me my first headache of the season. When you do so much talking without breathing, you get a headache. But the kids responded," Alford said after his 22nd-ranked Hawkeyes beat Eastern Illinois 95-79 Sunday.

Jacob Jaacks scored a career-high 29 points and Dean Oliver added a career-best 27 for the Hawkeyes.

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  • Eastern Illinois coach Rick Samuels said Oliver gave his Panthers the most match-up problems.

    "Dean Oliver is quick. He was the difference in the second half. We needed three to four people to try and contain him. He made his shots. He got his teammates the ball," Samuels said.

    Oliver had eight points at halftime but said he came out more focused in the final 20 minutes.

    "In the first half, I played way too timid," he said. "In the second half, I just tried to play more under control and make things happen."

    Jaacks and Oliver combined to score 19 of the last 25 points for the Hawkeyes (2-1). Teammate Kyle Galloway added 12 points.

    Michael Forrest came off the bench to score 15 points for Eastern Illinois (0-1), while Kyle Hill had 14 and John Smith 12.

    Smith's basket at the 8:09 mark pulled the Panthers to 66-63 before Jaacks and Ryan Luehrsmann each hit two free throws to put Iowa up 70-63.

    Henry Domercant hit one of two free throws to cut the deficit to 70-64 before Oliver and Jaacks took over. Oliver hit a jumper from the right wing to open the lead to eight points and Jaacks scored on a three-point play following a free throw by Hill as the Hawkeyes took a 75-65 lead with 5:11 to play.

    "Those are our go-to guys," Alford said. "We need to have Jake and Dean be explosive."

    Matt Britton's 3-pointer 11 seconds later sliced Iowa's lead to 75-68 but the Panthers failed to get any closer.

    The Panthers outscored Iowa 14-5 toward the end of the first half to trail 41-40 at halftime. But a jumper by Galloway from the right wing capped a 19-6 spurt to open the second half and give the Hawkeyes a 60-46 lead with 13:59 to play before Eastern Illinois rallied.

    Jaacks' previous best was 20 points against then-No. 1 Connecticut in first round of the IKON Coaches vs. Classic on Nov. 11, while Oliver's previous best 24 points came at Minnesota on Jan. 16.

    Iowa, which shot 54 percent from the field, hit 30 of 37 free throws to hold off the Panthers.

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