Luka Garza netted 24 points on 4-5 shooting from three in a wire-to-wire win over the HATED Grand Canyon Antelopes, 86-74.
Iowa surged to an 11-2 lead following two three-pointers courtesy Garza and another from Jordan Bohannon, forcing Bryce Drew to call a timeout just before the under-16.
From there we saw the Lopes enact their gameplan: throw 10 elbows at Garza at a time.
Asbørn Midtgaard banged with Garza in the paint, feasting with 7 points in the paint to go with 2 fouls early on.
Luckily, Iowa isn’t just Garza. Iowa’s bench saw some run pretty early, and Keegan Murray made his presence known with a monster slam shortly after entering the game.
He knocked in a 3 a couple possessions later, while Joe Toussaint, Patrick McCaffery, and Tony Perkins more than held down the fort. Iowa’s bench had 20 first half points, giving the starters good rest for the final 20 minutes.
A COWARDLY double foul whistle on Garza and Oscar Frayer with 5 minutes left in the first half forced Fran to lean on this group even more, and it was a reassuring sign of how this team might look if other teams study the Grand Canyon blueprint.
Garza saw the bench for the remaining ticks, harkening flashbacks to a game against Indiana earlier in the season. But things are a little different now as Iowa enjoyed a healthy lead and newfound trust in the bench.
Rounding things out for Iowa was Joe Wieskamp. He had a silky step back three and another alley-oop to score Iowa’s final 5 points at the half and hold a 42-31 lead at the break. He ended the game with 16, going 9-10 from the stripe along with 8 boards and 5 assists.
Garza made a bunny almost as soon as the second half commenced, and he joined Bohannon to sandwich long balls between a deep make from Jovan Blackshear.
Bohannon made another one from the logo, and he found Wieskamp on a filthy no-look pass to draw a foul a minute later. Wiesy made both his shots and Midtgaard completed an old fashioned three-point play before Murray completed back-to-back slams to build an 17 point lead and force a GCU timeout with 12 minutes to go.
Two sloppy possessions gave the Lopes two easy buckets so we saw a timeout and the insertion of P-Mac and Toussaint.
The younger McCaffery kept the lead at 17 after some free shots with 10 minutes left, and really, Iowa was happy to keep this one at arm’s length.
Iowa’s starters sans Connor trotted out with 5 1⁄2 minutes to go to put the clamps on the game. Garza was fed under the rim on back to back sequences, and Murray had a highlight block on a GCU breakaway to seal a deal that was sealed many minutes prior. He ended with 13 points, 4 blocks, and 7 boards in another shining moment for a future bright star.
One down, five to go.
- It looked like GCU’s length was going to be a problem early on, but then we remembered, Iowa is Iowa and GCU is GCU.
- 10/22 on three pointers is pretty good!
- Only 6 turnovers is a CLEAN game, and one of those was a complete whiff off of Garza.
- Iowa hit 18 of its 24 free throws, which was nice to see.
- It was really great to see Tony Perkins see as much time as he did. It was only six minutes in total, but he got in early and provides a tempo that’s a nice complement to Toussaint.
- I’ll take that type of game from Bohannon any day.
- So Iowa is playing Oregon next. We learned early in the second half VCU forfeited the game due to a Covid outbreak. The Ducks skate to the second round and will have fresh legs when they face the Hawkeyes.
The spin zone to this is they’ll be cold going into the game, but have some extra Hawkeye tape, too.
Source to @CBSSports: VCU had its first positive surface on Wednesday, then two more positives surfaced Friday night, which prompted Marion County health officials and the NCAA to decide allowing VCU to move forward and play its game vs. Oregon was too risky.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 20, 2021
I don’t think Oregon is as big as GCU, but still possesses a more talented roster than Iowa’s first opponent. We don’t know the time yet, but we’ll see ya again Monday.