Bottled up by North Carolina on Tuesday — by his high standards, anyway — Iowa’s Luka Garza appreciated the opportunity to see his teammates pick him up in a home victory against a fellow ranked team.
“We have some of the best shooters in the country,” Garza said after scoring 16 points in the No. 3 Hawkeyes’ win over the No. 16 Tar Heels. “Those guys can kill you, and they did (Tuesday).”
Iowa (4-0) will look to keep rolling as it hosts Iowa State (1-1) on Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Jordan Bohannon, who paced the Hawkeyes with 24 points against North Carolina, is eager for the quick turnaround as the rivalry series resumes.
“Everything I lived for and worked for my entire life is just being able to play in these big-time games,” Bohannon said.
The Hawkeyes prevailed in Tuesday’s clash behind a plethora of timely long-range shooting. Bohannon drilled seven 3-pointers, while CJ Frederick (21 points) and Joe Wieskamp (19) hit five treys apiece.
To be sure, Garza made an additional impact on the game beyond the scoring column, contributing 14 rebounds and four blocks in his first game with fewer than 20 points in the past 20 contests.
Still, the steady play of Iowa’s reserves didn’t hurt. In a game the Hawkeyes won by 13 points, the bench contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, with just one turnover.
“Great teams, you need guys like that who come in and provide big roles,” Garza said.
Iowa State will aim to return to form quickly following a nine-day layoff, the program’s longest lull entering the Iowa game since the 1934-35 season.
The Cyclones haven’t played since a 71-68 home loss to South Dakota State on Dec. 2. Facing an early, 15-point deficit, Iowa State cut the Jackrabbits’ lead to one with 30 seconds left but was unable to complete the comeback.
Iowa State was set to host DePaul on Sunday, but the Blue Demons canceled the game shortly before the scheduled tipoff due to COVID-19 concerns within the program. Iowa State completed early warmups as the announcement was made and remained at Hilton Coliseum for an intrasquad scrimmage.
Although it wasn’t game experience, the session figured to count for something for a Cyclones roster with seven newcomers as coach Steve Prohm navigates a nonconference climate like none before it.
“You’ve got to try to win along the way,” Prohm said. “This is like a stretch of … NCAA Tournament games; there isn’t a learning curve this year. It’s just go play. I have to be patient, but I also have to put them in position to grow and get better. We have to win games. I get it. I understand that. There’s no question about it.”
DePaul transfer Jalen Coleman-Lands is averaging 14.5 points a game, and is followed by Rasir Bolton and Solomon Young, who are averaging 13 apiece.
While Iowa State boasts victories in seven of the past 11 CyHawk rivalry meetings, Iowa enters Friday on a two-game series winning streak and owns a 46-27 overall advantage. The home team has won 14 of the past 17.
–Field Level Media