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Preview: Hawkeye men host Nebraska-Omaha on Sunday

[ 0 ] November 9, 2013 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Injured Iowa shooting guard Josh Oglesby didn’t play in Friday’s 82-39 victory over North Carolina-Wilmington, but he still registered an assist in the season opener.

The beneficiary of his assist was freshman Peter Jok, who is being counted on to help fill the void left by Oglesby’s foot injury.

“He talked to me. He just told me, ‘Don’t think about it, just shoot it,’” Jok said of Oglesby, who is expected to be sidelined for approximately six weeks with a broken bone in his right foot.

Jok, a 6-6 shooting guard from West Des Moines Valley, scored 11 points in his Hawkeye debut and will look to build on that performance when Iowa faces Nebraska-Omaha at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Jok and fellow newcomer Jarrod Uthoff, a 6-9 transfer from Wisconsin and a 2011 graduate of Cedar Rapids Jefferson, had successful debuts. Uthoff came off the bench to lead Iowa with 14 points. He also blocked four shots and was one of three players for Iowa to grab seven rebounds.

“I’ve been talking about how talented they both are, and I think everybody knows it,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “To see them go out there in a Hawkeye uniform and play that way, it was a great feeling for all of us.

“Their teammates were pulling for them. We need with it with Josh out, especially those two guys.”

McCaffery gives his top perimeter shooters plenty of freedom to shoot at their discretion. He handled Oglesby that way last season even though Oglesby struggled with his shot, and now Jok has the green light, too.

“It really boosted my confidence for (McCaffery) to tell me I have a green light to shoot whenever I want,” Jok said. “Now I’ve just got to make shots and make him proud.”

Jok only made 1-of-5 shots from 3-point range on Friday, but he thinks he knows why he was off target.

“My fatigue got me and I started rushing shots,” Jok said. “I need to slow down when I shoot. That’s something I still have to work on, getting comfortable with my shot.”

Iowa is expected to have an 11-man rotation when Oglesby returns this season. Jok and Uthoff are the newcomers in that mix, but Jok said the transition to college has been easy, thanks in large part to his teammates.

“Our team is a family,” Jok said. “I’m only a freshman, but they don’t treat me like a freshman. They treat me like their brother.”

Sunday’s game will mark just the second time that Iowa has faced Nebraska-Omaha. Iowa defeated the Mavericks 71-58 on Nov. 30, 1981.

The Mavericks are 1-0 after coming from behind to prevail at Northern Illinois 68-66 Friday night. They secured the victory at the free throw line, making 27 of 32 attempts.

Nebraska-Omaha is a member of the Summit League and finished 11-20 last season and sixth in the conference with a 6-10 mark. Four starters return from last season, including senior guard, Justin Simmons. He averaged 16.7 points per game last season.

West Branch native Rylan Murry is a freshman forward for the Mavericks.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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