IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Until Iowa finds its rhythm on offense, the Hawkeyes (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) are more than happy to let defense carry the load.
The Hawkeyes' physical man-to-man defense harassed, pestered and shut down Arizona State's high scoring offense en route to a 62-43 victory Saturday night.Iowa held the Sun Devils to season lows for points and field-goal percentage. Arizona State's 43 points is the lowest in the eight-year tenure of coach Rob Evans, and the Sun Devils' 12 first-half points are the fewest since Feb. 13, 1991, when they scored just 11
against Arizona."Defensive games aren't as fun to watch," said Iowa guard Adam Haluska, who led the Hawkeyes with 17 points."But for us, that's what we pride ourselves on. We look at that score and see they're under 50 points, that makes us excited. For us, it's just like scoring 100 points," Haluska said.As they have all season, the Hawkeyes were sluggish and inconsistent on offense.Iowa (8-3) shot 40 percent and were 5-of-17 from 3-point range, but it was enough to help snap a two-game losing streak that led to a 10-spot drop in the AP rankings.Greg Brunner added 12 points for Iowa and grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds, while Mike Henderson chipped in 10 points."Our offense hasn't been very good thus far this year," said Brunner, who leads a defense that came into the game allowing an average of 56 points per game and 36.5 percent field-goal shooting, fifth best in the country."I think we've realized that the offense is having trouble and so we just kind of picked it up a notch on the defensive end," he said.Did they ever.Arizona State (4-3) came into the game averaging 79 points and shooting 47 percent from 3-point range, second best in the nation.But the Sun Devils struggled to find open shots and take care of the ball against Iowa's big front court and quicker guards.Arizona shot 34 percent and was 3-of-13 on 3s, both season lows. The Sun Devils also had 17 turnovers that led to 13 Iowa points.Kevin Kruger led the Sun Devils with 12 points on 3-of-13 shooting."We didn't defend. We didn't execute offensively," said Evans, whose team is dominated by younger players. "It's frustrating. And when I say frustrating ... I say it understanding where we are" as a team.The Hawkeyes, who play in-state rival Drake and Robert Morris at home this week, were never seriously threatened in the second halfA dunk off a missed shot by Doug Thomas with 12:45 left in the game put Iowa up by 17 points and the Hawkeyes were cruising until the Sun Devils' best shooters finally found some open shots.Bryson Krueger, Arizona State's leading scorer, hit the team's first 3-pointer of the game at the 11:03 mark, part of a 9-0 run that trimmed Iowa's lead to 42-32 with 10 minutes left.But the Hawkeyes answered on both ends of the court.Two possessions later, Carlton Reed made two free throws and Haluska followed with a 3-pointer to put the Hawkeyes in front 47-32 with 8:30 remaining. Moments later, Reed stole a pass and drove the length of the floor for a layup to stretch the lead to 20 and the defense did the rest in the final minutes.Krueger, who was benched for the first six minutes for disciplinary reasons, had nine points. Team officials said Krueger was punished for breaking curfew earlier in the week.