NCAAB: Ben Krikke leads Iowa vs. North Florida

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Ben Krikke has quickly settled in as one of Iowa’s best players.

The graduate transfer will look to make it seven straight double-figure scoring outings to start the season when the Hawkeyes face North Florida on Wednesday night in Iowa City, Iowa.

Krikke played four seasons at Valparaiso and has rapidly fit in with Iowa (4-2). He is averaging a team-best 18.3 points per game and shooting 62.2 percent.

The 6-foot-9 forward had season highs of 25 points and nine rebounds against Arkansas State and 24 points against then-No. 8 Creighton. On Friday, he scored 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting and added a season-high five assists in an 85-72 victory over Seton Hall on a neutral floor in San Diego.

“Just picking spots,” Krikke said of his latest solid outing. “Just was kind of reading and reacting and hitting open shots and being aggressive.”

Of course, Krikke didn’t arrive in Iowa City as a novice. He was a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection last season, when he averaged a league-high 19.4 points per game for Valpo.

Payton Sandfort also is performing well for Iowa, averaging 15 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds. Tony Perkins (11.5 points per game) and Patrick McCaffery (11.3) also have scoring averages in double digits.

North Florida (4-3) is playing its second straight road game against a major conference school. The Ospreys lost 75-63 at LSU on Friday.

North Florida trailed by 30 with under 14 minutes to play before trimming the margin of defeat.

One of the goals Wednesday is to not fall behind by too much inside a raucous Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“It gave us encouragement for our next Power Five opponent in Iowa,” Ospreys coach Matthew Driscoll said of the comeback against LSU. “Transfer of learning is one of the most important aspects of coaching, which creates awareness to mentally and physically see our errors, yet perform to the standard of excellence that we command.

“Iowa is one of the fastest teams in the country end line to end line.”

North Florida last beat a Power Five program when it opened the 2015-16 season with a stunning 93-81 win at Illinois.

Chaz Lanier leads the Ospreys in scoring (16.3 ppg) and 3-pointers (22). Jah Nze (10.1 ppg) is the only other double-digit scorer, but Ametri Moss (9.9 ppg) and Dorian James (9.4 ppg, team-best 6.9 rebounds per game) provide balance to the attack.

Iowa is 2-0 against North Florida, with both wins coming at home: 80-70 during the 2014-15 season and 83-68 in 2019-20.

–Field Level Media

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