By Brendan Stiles
In a game where it trailed by as many as 23 points in the first half, the Iowa Hawkeyes stormed back to defeat Gardner-Webb 65-56 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday. Iowa improved to 4-0 for the first time in four seasons with the victory, which comes as part of the Cancun Challenge.
Providing the biggest spark for the Hawkeyes was freshman center Adam Woodbury. In 19 minutes of playing time, the Sioux City native finished with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
The first half was as bad as the Hawkeyes have looked thus far during this relatively young season. Iowa trailed 11-8 when Woodbury picked up his second foul. From that point, Gardner-Webb would go on a 27-7 run and lead 38-15. Just before halftime, sophomore guard Josh Oglesby was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and knocked down three free throws to trim Iowa’s deficit to 38-18 at halftime.
When the first half concluded, Iowa was 5-of-25 shooting from the floor (including 0-of-8 from the 3-point line after going 4-of-21 two nights earlier against Howard). The Hawkeyes had also given up 12 offensive rebounds to the Bulldogs, as well as 18 second chance points.
But then came the second half, where Iowa scored the first 12 points to cut its deficit to 10 points. With Woodbury back on the floor, the Hawkeye run would get to 27-4 when the 7-1 center hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 42-42.
In addition to Woodbury, Iowa received significant contributions from Oglesby and sophomore forward Aaron White, both of whom had 13 points each. Also elevating his play in the second half was junior forward Zach McCabe, who ended up with eight points and six rebounds after being a non-factor during the first 20-minute stanza.
Iowa now heads to Cancun, Mexico to play its remaining two games of the Cancun Challenge at the Moon Palace Resort. The Hawkeyes’ first game is Nov. 20 against Western Kentucky, who was a No. 16 seed in last season’s NCAA Tournament. Tip-off is set for approximately 8:30 p.m. Central and the game between the Hawkeyes and Hilltoppers will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. Iowa would then play Nov. 21 against either Wichita State or DePaul depending on the outcome of its game with Western Kentucky.