Game Report: Hawkeyes Bounce Back with Big Win Against No. 12 Maryland
IOWA CITY, IOWA – Put down the shovel. The Hawkeyes aren’t ready for dirt to be thrown on their graves.
Despite a rash of injuries, Iowa came alive in upsetting No. 12 Maryland, 67-49, Friday night here at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. A team that showed tremendous will and fight when at full strength proved it still had it on a stormy night outside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes took over the game late in the first half with a 19-2 run and never led up. Their lead never dipped below double figures in the second half and ballooned to 21 points with six minutes to play.
Joe Wieskamp led the winners with a career-high 26 points to go with 11 rebounds, while teammate Luka Garza stayed on a tear with 21 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Iowa improved to 11-5 overall and 2-3 in Big Ten play.
It was coming off a disheartening loss against a rebuilding Nebraska team in Lincoln on Tuesday. Starting guard C.J. Fredrick missed the game with a stress reaction in his foot, which also kept him out Friday. He joined fellow starters Jordan Bohannon and Jack Nunge, who suffered season-ending injuries, and rotation member Patrick McCaffery (illness) on the sidelines.
The eight scholarship players still active met after they got back from Nebraska. They knew some people were doubting they could carry on successfully.
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“We got together and realized we had a decision to make. A lot of people are counting us out realizing we’re missing some of our best players,” Wieskamp said. “We could kind of fold listening to all that and not compete as hard as we can or we could go out there, band together and just focus on the guys we have playing.
“If our chemistry is good with those guys, we can compete with anyone in the country.”
The Hawkeyes showed that Friday. Maryland (13-3, 3-2) came to Iowa City sitting near the top of the Big Ten standings and ranked among the nation’s Top 15.
“Iowa was terrific. Give them credit,” Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon said. “They had a good game plan. We were bad. We stunk. I’ve been doing this a long time. That ranks up there as one of the worst my teams has played.”
The home team’s 2-3 zone frustrated Maryland. Iowa did a nice job mixing in some other looks, including traps. And it held a 44-32 rebounding advantage against an outfit that entered the contest +6.9 in margin, sixth in the league.
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Nebraska dedicated most of its defense to stopping Garza and the Hawkeyes missed open shots. They finished 4 of 33 from behind the three-point arc in the 76-70 loss.
The Terrapins also collapsed on Garza but he was backed by better outside shooting. Wieskamp, who missed nine of 10 trey attempts against the Huskers, connected on four of his first five Friday, finishing 5 of 9 on the night. Iowa made nine of 23 from deep.
Four different Hawkeyes besides Wieskamp connected on treys, including backup power forward Cordell Pemsl. It turned into one of those nights when contributions came from all of the guys who played.
Point guards Joe Toussaint and Bakari Evelyn combined for seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. Ryan Kriener added seven points and six boards. Eighth-man Riley Till dished out a key assist.
“We have a lot of good players left,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. The guys that come in have the ability to compete. Everybody that played, played really well.”
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We could debate how much outsider opinion about Iowa’s fate with a depleted lineup should matter to the players. Maybe you believe they should worry about themselves and not what others think. But that also would be listening to noise beyond the locker room.
Whatever fuels this team should be welcomed at this point. It’s going to need a lot of juice in navigating this grueling conference slate. After watching it Friday, it’s hard to imagine a letup.
“We’re resilient and we’re tough. That’s what we’ve been saying all year. That’s just the type of group we have in that locker room,” Garza said. “We’re going to bounce back. We’re never going to fold. No matter what adversity comes our way we’re not folding for nothing. That just the type of team we are.”
-Tonight’s win was Iowa’s second of the season over a ranked opponent. It knocked off No. 12 Texas Tech on Nov. 28.
-Maryland’s 49 points are the fewest the Terrapins have scored against the Hawkeyes in the 10-game series. The previous low was 55 points in a 71-55 Iowa win in Iowa City in ’15.
-Garza posted his 10th double-double of the season and sixth in seven games tonight. He’s the first Hawkeye with 10 or more double-doubles in a season since Greg Brunner in ’05-06. Garza registered his seventh 20-point/10-rebound game of the season.
-Wieskamp scored 18 of his career-high 26 points in the first half. The sophomore tied a career high with five 3-pointers, marking the second time in three games that he sank five triples. Wieskamp also tied a personal best with 11 rebounds, notching his second double-double in three games.