The Hawks were without Cordell Pemsl who missed the game with a back injury, as well as CJ Frederick, who was nursing a quad injury, and only the aforementioned “Big 3” scored in double-digits, but that’s all Iowa needed for the win. The trio scored a combined 53 points, one point away from matching the entire Syracuse squad. Garza finished with a game-high 23 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. Wieskamp ended the night with 13 points, including three shots from deep, 9 rebounds and 4 assists, while Bohannon tallied 17 points, mostly in the second half. Connor McCaffery and Joe Toussaint also added five points apiece and Bakari Evelyn added a three-pointer for good measure, as well.
The win puts Iowa at 6-2 on the season while Syracuse meanwhile lost its third game in a row, and falls to .500 on the season at 4-4.
Syracuse got things started on the scoring front as Iowa couldn’t stop turning the ball over, with three consecutive turnovers in its first three possessions that thankfully only resulted in a 4-0 Orange lead. Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza however would not be denied, and got Iowa into the scoring column early while also making plays on the defensive side of the court. The Hawks took their first lead knotted at 7-all when Wieskamp hit his second three in the first five minutes of the game. Wieskamp and Garza combined for all of Iowa’s first 14 points.
It was back and forth from there, with neither team getting an insurmountable lead. Both teams were locked at 20 with 6:30 left in the first half. Jordan Bohannon missed his first six attempts from beyond the arc before hitting his first one with just shy of 3 minutes left in the half. Wieskamp followed with one of his own on the next possession, and the back-and-forth between the Hawkeyes and the Orange continued, with the Hawkeyes going into halftime with a narrow 30-29 lead.
Garza’s hot streak continued in the second half, as he made a 3-pointer to open the period. Bohannon found a bit more of his rhythm as well, and Joe Tousaint got more involved with scoring, too. Out of nowhere, the Hawks suddenly had a 49-38 lead with 12 minutes left in the game, with assistance from a suddenly hot handed Bohannon. Syracuse, meanwhile, could not land shots as the Iowa lead continued to grow. The Orange went scoreless for over five minutes, as Bohannon hit a shot from deep, Garza scored again in the post, and the Iowa lead was suddenly 56-38 with 8:43 left in the game.
Syracuse on its next possession finally was able to hit a shot from downtown, but Garza responded on the next play with an easy 2 points underneath the basket. The Orange wouldn’t go away, trying to fit back by converting an and-1 on the next possession, but Connor McCaffery of all people quieted the Syracuse momentum with a three in response.
From there, it was a matter of determining the final score. This is a good win for a team that, in many ways, is still determining its identity. Tonight was a great blueprint: running the main parts of the offense through Wieskamp and Garza, letting Bohannon spot up from deep, and smart passing to find open shooters from there.
I still have no clue what to make of this team, but like I said before the season, the potential is certainly there.