IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Iowa men’s basketball team is 1-1 heading into Friday game against Oral Roberts at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but the one loss has received way more attention than the one victory.
That’s because Iowa looked completely overmatched during a 93-78 beat-down against DePaul on Monday in a game in which the final score wasn’t indicative of DePaul’s dominance.
The Blue Demons bolted to leads of 10-0 and 16-2 and the outcome never was in doubt after that.
“When you play a bad game like that, you just want to back out there as soon as you can and make up for it,” said Iowa junior center Luka Garza. “When you play like that, you know you’re not playing to the best of your ability and that’s disappointing.
“But we’ll have plenty of opportunities to make sure we can change.”
Select Iowa players, along with head coach Fran McCaffery, met with the media on Wednesday and one of the storylines to emerge was Jack Nunge's poor start to the season. The 6-foot-11 sophomore was held scoreless against DePaul.
In fact, Nunge has only scored two points in the first two games. He made two free throws in the 87-60 victory over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in the season opener last Friday.
Nunge earned a starting position by performing well in practice, where according to Fran McCaffery, he has shot around 40 percent from 3-point range.
“I’ve just got to play the way I play in practice every day, and I’ve got to take the game to them and be aggressive,” said Nunge, who was redshirted last season.
Nunge only played 10 minutes against DePaul due partly to senior forward Ryan Kriener coming off the bench and performing so well.
Fran McCaffery said he probably should have played Nunge more against DePaul, but it was hard to take Kriener out of the game because of how well Kriener was playing.
Kriener scored 13 points and led Iowa with eight rebounds against DePaul.
"I felt like probably you look at the stats, and I probably should have got him in more than I did," McCaffery said. "But with all due respect, Kriener was really good so I left him out there."
McCaffery said he’s had a number of conversations with Nunge since the DePaul game trying to encourage him. He wants Nunge to be more aggressive on offense and to play with more confidence.
“At some point you have to trust your talent and play through,” McCaffery said.
McCaffery also stressed the fact that it's only been two games, including one in which Nunge barely played 10 minutes.
“I don't think we want to kill the kid for ten minutes of activity,” McCaffery said.