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Game Report: No. 4 Michigan Too Much for Hawkeyes

December 6, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

BOX SCORE

On a night when center Luka Garza delivered a special performance, an Iowa deficiency from recent years returned Friday. The Hawkeyes played porous defense in losing, 103-91, at No. 4 Michigan. It represented the most points scored by the Wolverines in a Big Ten game during the last 20 years.

Garza, a junior, exploded for a career-high 44 points. The total was the most in a single-game by an Iowa big man, third most in a single-game in program history and the most scored by a Hawkeye in a single-game since guard John Johnson poured in a school-record 49 points against Northwestern on Feb. 24, 1970.

“I thought we did a really good job, collectively, of getting him the ball, made a concerted effort to do so,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “He never stops moving. He sprints hard in transition. He posts hard. So he’s a handful for any defender that’s trying to guard him. I’m very proud of him.”

The Washington, D.C. product connected on 17 of 32 shots from the floor and 10 of 13 from the foul line. He drew 11 Michigan fouls.

Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, their 93 points were 12 fewer than their opponent. And that spoke to disconnection on defense.

Michigan knocked down 32 of 58 (55.2 percent) shots from the floor, including 10 of 24 (41.7) from behind the three-point arc. It also sank 29 of 34 (85.3) free throws.

“I thought the zone was good for awhile, but they had multiple guys making threes,” McCaffery said. “They’ve got you spread out. Could we have made some better decisions? Probably. We’ll work on that. We’ll get better.”

The foursome of Zavier Simpson, Isaiah Livers, Eli Brooks and Brandon Johns Jr. combined for 9 of 16 shooting from behind the arc. Iowa shot 3 of 15 as a team.

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Garza kept Iowa within striking distance for most of the night. The Hawkeyes trailed by just seven points with 7:12 remaining in the game. Michigan would score the next five points, however, and the visitors got no closer than nine the rest of the way.

Iowa also received a game-high eight rebounds, including six on offense, from Garza. Guard Connor McCaffery added 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists without a turnover in the loss.

Meanwhile, six different Wolverines reached double figures in scoring, led freshman Franz Wagner’s career-best 18 points. Simpson added 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

Iowa did receive good news before Friday’s contest when CJ Fredrick and Cordell Pemsl returned to the lineup after missing the Syracuse game earlier this week with injuries. Fredrick handed out a team-high five assists.

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The Wolverines bounced back from a loss at top-ranked Louisville Tuesday. They improved to 8-1, while Iowa fell to 6-3.

The Hawkeyes dropped their Big Ten opener for the fourth season in a row. The last win came on Dec. 29, 2015, when they knocked off No. 1 Michigan State, 83-70, in Iowa City.

After winning two games in a row at the Crisler Center, Iowa dropped its second consecutive game there. It lost 74-59 back in ’18.

It was the Wolverines fifth victory in the last six games of the series. The Hawkeyes won by 15 in Iowa City last season, but fell by 21 in the Big Ten Tournament.

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Iowa gets the rest of the weekend off before returning to Carver-Hawkeye Arena Monday night (7 p.m. CT, BTN) against Minnesota. It’s the Hawkeyes first home game since beating Cal Poly on Nov. 24.

TIP-INS

-Garza became the 49th Hawkeye to score No. 1,000 points in his career with Friday’s performance.

-Garza’s 44 points are the most scored by a visiting player in Crisler Center history, besting Ohio State’s Dennis Hopson’s 39 points on Jan. 8, 1987. The 44-point outburst is the second highest scoring output by any player in Crisler Center history (48 by Rudy Tomjanovich vs. Indiana on Jan. 7, 1969).

-Garza’s 17 field goals tied Bruce King (vs. Michigan on Jan. 31, 1976) for third most in a single-game in Iowa history. Garza’s 32 attempts tie three others (Fred Brown, Murray Wier and Charles Darling) for fourth most in Iowa history.

-Iowa’s three losses have come to teams with a combined record of 26-1 (DePaul, San Diego State, Michigan).

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