Offenses take spotlight as Iowa faces Arkansas State

Two up-tempo teams figure to light up the scoreboard when Iowa faces Arkansas State on Friday night in Iowa City.

This is business as usual for high-scoring Iowa (2-1), which averages 97.3 points per game, but not so much for Arkansas State (1-2), which is playing run-and-gun under rookie coach Bryan Hodgson.

Iowa is led by Valparaiso transfer Ben Krikke, who has been a good fit with his new team and is averaging 18.3 points per game.

Krikke combines with veterans Payton Sandfort (16.3 ppg), Patrick McCaffery (15.3) and Tony Perkins (12.7) to give the Hawkeyes one of the most experienced teams in the nation.

Coach Fran McCaffery also is excited about his freshman class. Pryce Sandfort and Brock Harding were Mr. Basketball in Iowa and Illinois, respectively, last year.

Their classmates providing muscle inside are 6-foot-8 Ladji Dembele and 6-10 Owen Freeman, who has 30 points in his 40 minutes on the floor so far. Not to be outdone, Harding has 17 assists in 34 minutes.

Iowa is coming off a 92-84 loss at No. 8 Creighton on Tuesday.

“(We did) a lot of good things,” Fran McCaffery said, “but also a lot of things, if you’re gonna beat a team of that caliber, that you can’t do.”

Arkansas State is coming off a 100-86 win over visiting Alcorn State as reserves Zane Butler and Avery Felts combined to hit 8 of 13 shots from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Red Wolves are paced by Taryn Todd (17.7 ppg), Freddy Hicks (15.7 ppg) and 6-9 Dyondre Dominguez (14.3 ppg, nine rebounds per game).

Arkansas State isn’t shying away from challenging competition. The Red Wolves lost their opener to Wisconsin 105-76. Next month they will visit on No. 22 Alabama, where Hodgson previously served as an assistant.

“It would have been easy to schedule two winnable games at home and for us to be sitting at 3-0 right now,” Hodgson said. “I just don’t know how much better that makes you in the long run. I don’t know how that prepares you for success down the road.”