It wasn’t great for the Hawkeyes down the stretch.
Michigan State took down Iowa 78-70 on Tuesday. The Spartans (19-9) moved to 11-6 in the Big Ten, inching out of the 10-6 pack. Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes (19-9) moved to 10-7.
No, this wasn’t a bad loss by any means. But this might be one of the few “what-if” games on the Hawkeyes’ schedule. It seemed as though Iowa had control for most of the game until midway through the season half.
But on a positive note, Luka Garza scored 20 points. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, that gives him nine straight 20-point games against top-25 teams, which is the longest streak in the past 15 years.
Iowa's Luka Garza has his 9th straight 20-point game against AP Top-25 competition.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 26, 2020
According to @EliasSports that is the longest streak by any player in the last 15 seasons. pic.twitter.com/EmIaxoQRC4
Anyway, here are six takeaways from Iowa’s loss in East Lansing:
Joe Wieskamp NEEDS to find his shot
The sophomore was not his usual self against Michigan State, and that’s been a theme over these past three games.
Wieskamp scored four points on 1-for-8 shooting against the Spartans. His lone bucket of the night came with 29.7 seconds left in regulation on a shot in close.
Wieskamp’s best play of the night was grabbing an offensive rebound, which eventually led to a Bakari Evelyn 3-pointer to cut Michigan State’s lead to just two points with less than three minutes remaining.
Wieskamp needs to find his shot, plain and simple. Ever since dropping 30 points on 66.7% shooting against Nebraska, he’s made just 11 of his 38 shots in his last four games.
Iowa couldn’t find any sort of rhythm late
Michigan State went on a 13-3 run over a 3:33 stretch late in the game, and that sealed Iowa’s fate. It wasn’t pretty. The Hawkeyes’ only bucket during that stretch came on a Bakari Evelyn 3-pointer. Other than that, nothing fell.
The Luka Garza-Cassius Winston battle lived up to the hype
What a performance by two of the Big Ten’s best players — the reigning Big Ten POTY and this year’s front-runner. And it was a story of two halves.
It was all Luka Garza in the first, as he went into halftime with 12 points and six rebounds (four of which came on the offensive glass). Winston, meanwhile, had just one point.
Winston took over in the second half, though. The senior point guard finished with 20 points and eight assists. He was the catalyst for Michigan State’s second-half resurgence.
Connor McCaffery stepped into CJ Fredrick’s shooter role
Michigan State essentially baited Connor McCaffery into shooting the ball, and he did not disappoint. McCaffery hit two of his five 3-pointers. He finished with 11 points, six assists, and no turnovers — yet another solid outing by Iowa’s ever-so-reliable point guard.
Ryan Kriener played his third straight game with 10 or more points
After a rocky stretch to end January, Ryan Kriener has turned his play up a notch. He scored 18 points against the Spartans, which ranks as his second-best scoring outing this year.
After scoring 10 against Minnesota and 12 against Ohio State, Kriener has now scored 40 points over the last three games. It’s the highest-scoring three-game stretch for him this season.
Iowa had nearly a 4 1⁄2 minute scoring drought in the second half
Michigan State broke out of its first-half funk midway through the second half. The Spartans went on a 12-2 scoring run over nearly four and a half minutes.
It was just a taste of things to come for the Hawkeye offense.