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Iowa trounces Western Illinois, 99-58

30 first half points from LG

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

Your #3 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes cruised to its third win of the year in a complete and total paddywagoning of Western Illinois, 99-58.

Look, there’s nothing here I can really glean upon a total destruction of a team we just witnessed. Consider the following:

  • Iowa led 48-26 at the half.
  • Of those 48 points, Luka Garza had 30. He also had 9 boards in the first 20 minutes.
  • Iowa shot just 4/15 from deep in the first half, and still had the Leathernecks on the ropes.
  • Iowa had nine consecutive possessions in the first half where it yielded a basket, enjoying separate scoring runs in the margins of 16-2 and 11-0.
  • Iowa held Western to just 30% shooting (24-80) from the floor throughout.

So I don’t really know what this all means for Iowa. Sure, the three-point shooting is less than ideal (8/23) but Iowa “only” committed 11 turnovers when it felt like it coughed the ball up 20 times. Iowa shot 75 percent from the stripe when it felt less than that. Iowa beat down an inferior team, which is what’s supposed to happen.

As a function of its competition, Iowa’s usual warts under Fran McCaffrey—turnovers, defense, timeout issues—haven’t come to roost. It’s possible, however, all this team’s warts are covered up by having Luka Garza. That’s even considering his relatively pedestrian 5 second-half points.

But he didn’t have to do much more than that given the prior 20 minutes. As sloppy as Iowa looked at times, Western was never even in the same atmosphere as competing.

In short, Iowa looked like a top-5 team.

The next two games are Iowa State and North Carolina, two squads whose benches outclass the starters of Iowa’s first three opponents. Then #1 Gonzaga looms before the conference season kicks off. It’s easy to walk the walk—until it isn’t.

Of Significance

  • Jordan Bohannon passed BJ Armstrong for No. 5 in assists in school history.
  • Luka Garza passed Matt Gatens for No. 8 in points in school history.
  • Jack Nunge had 18 points tonight in his season debut, going 8-11 from the floor. It was great to have him back and would be interested to see how he does with Garza on the floor at the same time.
  • I’m willing to bet Garza is the first player in school history to score 30 points in the first half of back to back games.
  • Fourteen players saw minutes tonight. Austin Ash got his name in the paper.
  • Keegan Murray might have the most hustle on the team. I can see him being on the court during late, crucial minutes just for his defense.