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Skidding Iowa preaching self-belief before Florida A&M contest


Iowa will aim to stop a season-high three-game losing streak when it faces Florida A&M on Saturday in a neutral-site game in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Hawkeyes (5-5) sputtered in the second half of Sunday’s home loss to Michigan on the heels of a blowout loss at Iowa State.

What’s the key to avoiding a further hole?

“The first thing is, they have to stay positive and continue to believe in themselves,” Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery said. “If they don’t think that we do, then they won’t. So, we stay positive with them, and we stay businesslike in the sense that it’s our job to point things out that they’re not doing as well as they should be or as well as they’re capable of.”

One of the improvement areas is rebounding. The Hawkeyes are minus-18 on the boards during the losing streak.

Ben Krikke, a graduate transfer from Valparaiso, scored 24 points against Michigan and was one of four Hawkeyes in double figures. His eight boards were a team high. Still, the Hawkeyes have just one double-digit rebounding effort this season — Payton Sandfort’s 12 against Alabama State on Nov. 10.

Florida A&M (2-5) has won two straight, the latest a 108-78 home rout of Division II LeMoyne-Owen on Dec. 9 that saw the Rattlers place six players in double figures.

Hantz Louis-Jeune led the way with 19 points, while K’Jei Parker posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Parker, a true freshman point guard, continues to make strides as a facilitator and scorer.

“K’Jei is a very unselfish type of guy,” the Rattlers’ Roderick Coffee III told FAMU’s student newspaper. “He’s always looking out for others but at the same time he’s going to get his. K’Jei also is a hard worker. He’s always getting extra shots up when he can and trying to protect his craft. He’s humble, confident, and honest.”

Saturday marks the first meeting between the Hawkeyes and Rattlers. Iowa has won each of its 18 previous games against current schools in Florida A&M’s league, the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Florida A&M lost 81-54 at Iowa’s Big Ten counterpart, Nebraska, on Nov. 9. The Rattlers will visit Iowa State on Sunday to conclude a back-to-back.

–Field Level Media

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