Talk about a response by the Hawkeyes.
Following a loss to No. 24 Michigan State, No. 18 Iowa took down No. 16 Penn State 77-68. The Hawkeyes moved to 20-9 on the year, 11-7 in the Big Ten.
Iowa now has seven (!!) wins against top-25 teams, the most in the nation.
Here are some takeaways from the win over Penn State:
Luka Garza flirted with a 20-20 game
25 points and 17 rebounds for Luka Garza. Just another day at the office.
Garza was unstoppable in the second half, scoring 18 points and hitting eight of his 12 shots. As usual, when Garza gets rolling, Iowa is one tough team to stop.
CJ Fredrick looked sharp in his return
Thank goodness CJ Fredrick is healthy. The redshirt freshman is Iowa’s x-factor. Fredrick scored 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting. He hit two of his four 3-pointers. Fredrick was great, almost as if he didn’t miss a beat from injury.
Cordell Pemsl looked... good?
Six points, six rebounds, one assist, and one blocks for Pemsl in 15 minutes.
In fact, the entire bench wasn’t bad at all today. Ryan Kriener scored eight points and Bakari Evelyn added seven. Granted, there was some sloppiness, as the bench had more turnovers (five) than the five starters (four).
Iowa’s defense didn’t allow a field goal for the first 5 minutes of the second half
Penn State was clicking from beyond the arc in the first half, but that seemed like a distant memory in the second half’s initial minutes.
The Nittany Lions went 0-for-5 from the floor to start the half. In the meantime, Iowa bumped its lead up to 10 points.
Iowa’s 13-2 run before halftime was huge
Penn State led 30-22 with a little more than six minutes left in the first half. Iowa went on a 13-2 run to snag its first lead in nearly 12 minutes.
Five of those 13 points came from Fredrick — a 3-pointer and a coast-to-coast layup (with a nice euro-step, too).
What’s next for Iowa basketball?
Iowa stays in Iowa City, hosting Purdue on March 3 at 8 p.m. The game will be aired on the Big Ten Network.