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Iowa 95, Illinois 71: Ride the Wave

Winning is fun!

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Winning is easy when you got Joe Weezy.

The Iowa basketball team improved to 16-3 and 5-3 in the Big Ten with a thoroughly enjoyable 95-71 win over Illinois, Iowa’s fifth in a row.

The Hawkeyes tied a record for shooting percentage at Carver: 69.4%. The largest contributor to that blazing hot stat? Freshman Joe Wieskamp who shot 8-8 Sunday afternoon.

Wieskamp has been playing well all year long, but this game demanded your attention and respect. His 14 first half points are accentuated with the fact he shot 4-4 from three and his additional points were free throws off a flagrant foul. He ended the game leading all scorers with 24 points, matching a career high from his outing against Savannah State. Wieskamp shot a spotless 6-6 from range and contributed 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He may already be our most complete player.

Iowa’s offense was a thing of beauty in the first frame. The Hawkeyes enjoyed a 12-0 run that Illinois simply could not dig out of nine minutes into the game. Iowa got out to an 18-6 lead early during a stretch where the Illini shot 0-8. Illinois was held to their fourth-fewest points all season; rarely finding an answer for Iowa’s suffocating zone and found themselves unable to penetrate past the three point line all game. The Iowa defense is coming around. You can tell, because Iowa forced a shot clock violation in the first half. That’s progress!

Illinois scored just 24 points in the first frame. And to add insult to injury, Isaiah Moss drained a three as time was expiring.

Dripping. Wet.

The second half was just a clinic. The Hawkeyes hit four consecutive threes to start it off, effectively shutting the door in this one.

There is nothing better than a Jordan Bohannon pull-up three pointer. Iowa ended the game shooting 15-21 from three — at one point they were 14-17 until Nicolas Baer had an airball.

Iowa pulled its starters at the two minute mark. They probably could’ve pulled them at 10 minute point. This was a fun one. Iowa did to Illinois what good teams do to bad teams. I hope there’s more in the tank for Michigan State on Thursday. Let’s ride this wave.

Other things

  • Iowa got to the free throw line 16 times, which is a lot, but still not as much as I would’ve expected them to in order to attack a foul-happy Illinois team. You take 12-16 at the line all day though.
  • I wouldn’t be too concerned over Tyler Cook’s paltry-looking stat line. He played well and looked healthy, he just didn’t have to do a lot since Iowa was shooting so well. He still had 7 rebounds! Five turnovers is not ideal, however.
  • Luka Garza (20) and Isaiah Moss (21) joined Joe Wieskamp in scoring in the 20s. That’s good!
  • I would be OK if Garza never attempted a three again, though.