If the Iowa Hawkeyes football game was the shot of athletics for your Black Friday, the basketball team was surely the chaser as the 103-76 victory was never in doubt.
The #5 Hawks (2-0) raced to an 11-0 lead early over the Southern Jaguars (0-2) and were buoyed by strong shooting throughout much of the first half, as four different Hawkeyes make first half three pointers.
It was overshadowed, rightfully so, by Luka Garza’s legitimately insane stat-line in the period as he racked up 36 points on 12/12 shooting and 10/12 from the line in 19 minutes. We’ll forgive the two missed free throws. The Hawks ended the frame up 58-35 and yes, Garza did outscore the Jags all by himself. He passed a couple Hawkeyes on the all-time scoring chart, including announcer Jess Settles.
They assisted on 17 of Iowa’s 19 baskets in the stanza.
Iowa got a little sideways in the second half as Southern switched to a zone to collapse on Garza which induced the Peacock’s only missed field goal on the afternoon. He finished with 41 and nine rebounds. Wieskamp looked good throughout much of the game and finished as the Hawkeyes’ only other player in double figures with 16.
One final takeaway ahead of a review from today’s questions is how Jordan Bohannon has, so far, struggled offensively amidst the sterile environment with very limited attendance. Through two games, Iowa’s senior point guard has shot just 4/15 with 3/12 from three. He’ll eventually find his groove and showed he more than just a shooter. Today he added seven assists.
Revisiting the preview’s questions:
Will the defense be ready from the jump? Iowa built the early lead, as mentioned above, but struggled at times with maintaining the early margin as they allowed Southern to score slightly more points/possession (.92) in the first half of this game than against NCCU (.90).
Such a tight difference is ultimately not full of meaning but indicative of Iowa too often building a lead with renewed focus on that side of the floor and struggle to increase the lead. There was one stretch in the first half where Garza scored 15 of Iowa’s 17 points on a 17-5 run which built the margin to 24, where the game was largely played throughout much of the second half.
Feels like a first world problem to complain about the defense, though.
Can Joe Wieskamp get going? In a word: yes. The junior wing finished with 16 points and made 4/6 threes. One would like to see his overall percentage tick up (he made just 1/6 shots inside the arc) but the emphasis on his scoring was needed.
At this juncture, it seems like he is the player most affected by the new blood from a minutes perspective as he had just 23, the least of Iowa’s five starters. Perhaps the lower “need” for him to be great will allow him to settle into a role more suited for his abilities.
Does the bench follow up its strong performance? While Pat McCaffery and Keegan Murray did not match their 28 points from Wednesday, they continued to look excellent in their minutes with 7 and 9 points, respectively. They both look comfortable with the ball in their hands and provide interesting skillsets for Fran to use at the forward positions.
Joe Toussaint added 5 points - he’s now 2/2 from 3 - and Ahron Ulis got some first half run, as well. He finished with 6 points.
Overall, it was a nice win on an otherwise stressful day of Hawkeye athletics.
Unless you bet on the Hawks. In which case, you’re peeved about the Jaguars 7-0 run to close the game, especially the three as time expired.
Next up: Thursday, December 3rd at 7:00 PM CST vs. Western Illinois Leathernecks