IOWA CITY — On paper, Maryland-Eastern Shore looked like it should have been a cakewalk for the 2-0 Iowa men’s basketball team on Thursday night.
It can be hard to find the proper motivation sometimes, in that circumstance, to get the superior team to be properly motivated.
Hawkeye head coach Fran McCaffery didn’t have to look too far past the name on the jersey of the Hawks on Thursday to find such motivation. It was Maryland, the soon-to-be Big Ten rival Terripans, that also found themselves on Wednesday in a game that appeared to be a cakewalk against Abilene Christian.
“What did they do? They made 10 threes in the first half,” McCaffery said. “A makes 10 threes in the first half, you’re going to have trouble beating them. I don’t care if you’re the Lakers. You’re going to have a hard time beating a team that makes 10 threes in the first half.”
“I’ve always said it’s hard to beat a team when the make 10 threes in a game. But in the first half? No wonder Maryland was down by six with 14 minutes to go.”
Motivation enough Hawkeyes? Apparently so.
Iowa never let themselves be put anywhere close to the precarious position their soon-to-be conference rival was in the previous night. The Hawkeyes jumped on Maryland-Eastern Shore with a 27-4 run that helped open a 32-9 lead in the opening half.
The visiting Hawks never got closer. Iowa rolled past the century mark for the first time this season with a convincing 109-63 win.
For McCaffery, it was easy to motivate his team by simply reminding them that, especially in college basketball, anyone is vulnerable on any given night. The Hawkeyes themselves were certainly reminded of that Sunday in an 83-75 win on Sunday over Nebraska-Omaha that saw Iowa behind on the scoreboard for most of the game.