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Iowa, Seton Hall face first true tests

Sportsnaut
Iowa forward Kris Murray, left, high-fives guard Connor McCaffery during a NCAA men's basketball game against Bethune-Cookman, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

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Credit: Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Iowa and Seton Hall will get their first true tests of the season Wednesday night when they face off as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games in Newark, N.J.

A classic strength-against-strength should be on tap. Fran McCaffery’s Iowa teams are known for their scoring, while first-year Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway wants defense to be his team’s identity.

Iowa (2-0) has averaged 100.5 points in wins over Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina A&T, ranking seventh in Division I. Seton Hall (2-0) is eighth in scoring defense, yielding just 48 points per game in wins over Monmouth and Saint Peter’s.

“Fran’s a good coach,” Holloway said. “He plays a funky style. The guys come down, they shoot a lot of threes. … They’ve got a lot of guys that can shoot the basketball.”

The Pirates smothered Saint Peter’s 80-44 on Saturday, forcing several shot-clock violations among 20 total turnovers.

Though the result was hardly in doubt, Holloway needs to see more from his group since it’s still in the early stages of gelling together.

“I don’t want to come off sounding crazy, but I don’t think we played that well,” he said. “I think we had some spurts where we played really good. I think some other times, we’ve just got stuff we’ve got to work on. Like I said before, this is gonna be a work in progress throughout the whole year.”

Al-Amir Dawes and Dre Davis scored 13 points apiece off the bench in the rout of Saint Peter’s, with Dawes adding a career-best 10 rebounds.

Iowa went 41 of 79 from the floor (51.9 percent) and sank 11 of their 23 3-point shots to beat North Carolina A&T 112-71 on Friday. Four Hawkeyes starters in double figures in scoring were led by Kris Murray, who had 22 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

Murray is the brother of Iowa star-turned-NBA lottery pick Keegan Murray and figures to be the focal point of McCaffery’s team this season.

How will the Hawkeyes stack up against a gritty defensive team such as the Pirates’?

“They’re gonna put pressure on the ball and they’re going to extend,” McCaffery said. “So you’ve got to take care of the ball, you’ve got to move the ball. You’ve got to rebound because they’re coming for it. That sort of typifies the competitive instincts that they have — and have been instilled by Coach (Holloway).”

–Field Level Media