Iowa rolls past UNC-Wilmington 82-39

LUKE MEREDITH (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Sophomore Jarrod Uthoff had 14 points and four blocks in his Iowa debut and the Hawkeyes rolled past UNC-Wilmington 82-39 Friday in its season opener.

Freshman Peter Jok added 11 points for the Hawkeyes (1-0), who opened the game with a 52-12 run.

Iowa opened up a 10-point lead after seven minutes and went on a 20-3 spurt to go ahead 34-7. The Hawkeyes had 10 players score in the first half and led by as many as 47 points.

Aaron White had 10 points and Gabe Olaseni had eight points, seven rebounds and five blocks for Iowa.

Cedrick Williams had 15 points to lead UNC-Wilmington (0-1). The Seahawks had just 12 first-half points, the least the Hawkeyes have allowed under coach Fran McCaffery.

For Uthoff, Friday's opener was the culmination of nearly three years spent waiting to make his NCAA debut.

The excitement over Uthoff's potential impact on the Hawkeyes will only grow after such a well-rounded opener.

Uthoff didn't play as a freshman at Wisconsin, and the Cedar Rapids, Iowa native wound up back home after a contentious and highly-publicized transfer from the Badgers.

The 6-foot-9 Uthoff spent last season practicing with the Hawkeyes, and the diversity in his game was obvious from the moment coach Fran McCaffery put him in with just over 13 minutes left in the first half.

Uthoff hit four of his first five shots and led Iowa with nine first-half points. His defense also helped the Hawkeyes stymie the Seahawks, who shot 16 of 72 and 2 of 23 from 3-point range.

Uthoff added seven rebounds in 19 minutes.

Jok, the leading scorer in Iowa while at West Des Moines Valley High a year ago, was 5 of 13 shooting.

The Hawkeyes couldn't have asked for a better start to their most anticipated season in nearly a decade.

Iowa brought back all five starters from last season's team, which won 25 games and reached the NIT finals. Even the loss of reserve guard Josh Oglesby - who broke his foot Wednesday night and will be out six weeks - shouldn't make too much of a dent into a rotation that could go a dozen players deep.

The Hawkeyes haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 2006, when they won the Big Ten tournament.

Most Iowa fans expect Iowa to snap that eight-year skid - and a lot of them believe this year's team is capable of even more than simply reaching the tournament.

The Seahawks finished 10-20 in Buzz Peterson's third season as their coach in 2012-13. They're picked 8th in the Colonial Athletic Association, which would match their highest league finish under Peterson.

But UNC-Wilmington didn't bring back anyone who averaged at least 10 points a game last season.

The Seahawks will stay in Iowa and play Iowa State on Sunday.

They can only hope the Cyclones aren't ready to open their season as the Hawkeyes were.

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