|Iowa beats South Dakota 87-75 to open NIT
USD vs Iowa
The Associated Press - March 16, 2017
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa viewed the NIT as a chance in part for its youngsters to get their first taste of the postseason.
The Hawkeyes survived the first round thanks to standout performances from three of its most promising freshmen.
Freshmen Jordan Bohannon scored 19 points with 11 assists, fellow newcomer Tyler Cook scored 18 with eight rebounds and Iowa opened the NIT with an 87-75 win over South Dakota on Wednesday.
"I go to those guys because they produce. I don't consider those freshmen anymore anyway," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
Senior Peter Jok had 20 to lead the Hawkeyes (19-14), one of four top seeds in the 32-team event.
But for about 30 minutes Iowa couldn't quite shake South Dakota, which excelled at crashing the offensive glass and getting to the free-throw line. The Hawkeyes finally took a double-digit lead on Ahmad Wagner's layup with 8:31 left, and Wagner's layup a minute later made it 68-54.
"Right when we needed it," McCaffery said.
Iowa, one of the last four teams left out of the NCAA Tournament, got 59 points from first-year-players — with Isaiah Moss adding 16.
Matt Mooney had 23 points for the Coyotes (22-12), who earned an NIT bid after winning the Summit League regular-season crown.
"I felt really good at halftime," South Dakota coach Craig Smith said. "We just had some inexperienced plays out there."