The Monday Tipoff: Kriener Has A Perfect Day
Ryan Kriener closed a perfect day with the perfect pose.
The final shot of the Iowa senior forward's 9-for-9 day was a dunk with 5:28 to play in Sunday's 93-51 win over Kennesaw State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Kriener was fouled on the play, so he hung on the rim while staring expressionless at the Iowa bench. His teammates, of course, loved it.
"Safety," Kriener said, smiling. "Didn't want to come down and twist an ankle or anything like that. Wanted to make sure I was clear.
He kept smiling.
"It was a safe landing," Kriener said.
Kriener saw the reaction from the bench.
"They were freaking out," he said. "It was kind of fun."
Kriener finished with a career-high 20 points, the last point coming on the free throw after the dunk.
His season high was 13 points in the Nov. 11 loss to DePaul. His career high was 15 on three occasions, the last time in a Feb. 1, 2019 game against Michigan.
This was his biggest night.
"I think our team really got it going early, so it really opened up stuff for me," Kriener said. "I had some easy ones early, that got me going. Once you get a few falling, it's easy to get into a rhythm."
"I'm just so proud of him," said center Luka Garza. "He did just a tremendous job today. That's the type of player he is, that's the player we see every day in practice, the player I go up against every day in practice. He pushes me, I push him.
"I have confidence in him when he catches the ball in the post, or really anywhere on the court, that he's going to score the ball. He's a scorer. I'm just really excited for him to get that career high, as efficient as he was."
Kriener knows that this is his final run. He also knows that, with fellow senior Jordan Bohannon out for the rest of the season, the Hawkeyes need his experience out on the court.
It's something coach Fran McCaffery appreciates, especially when the 6-foot-10 Kriener is on defense.
"He blows up actions that he knows, through scouting, they are going to run," McCaffery said. "He takes advantage of his length and experience. He communicates with the guys that are in front of him, what picking action is coming, whether they are going to run a dribble out backdoor, or a flip ball screen, or whatever. He sees it in time to communicate it before it has an impact."
Kriener, who is averaging 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds, is consistent, and the Hawkeyes need that now with a roster that has been slowly depleted.
He likes what he sees, whether it's in practice or hanging from the rim and watching his teammates laugh.
Kriener talked about how the Hawkeyes, after a few days away for Christmas break, came back sharp. No one, he said, seemed out of shape.
"As a senior, it's one of those little things that meant a lot to me," Kriener said. "Everybody's taking it extra serious this year. This is my last chance at an NCAA run. Everybody was getting in workouts after Christmas. People were locked in over break."
Kriener is locked in, too. And that's made a big difference for the Hawkeyes.