Game Report: Short-Handed Hawkeyes’ Road Woes Continue at Indiana
There’s no place like home. That’s particularly true when it comes to the Iowa men’s basketball team.
The Hawkeyes fell to 1-6 on the road in Big Ten play with Thursday’s 89-77 loss at Indiana. Their lone victory came against lowly Northwestern, which is 1-6 in its building. That win happened against Nebraska, losers of all seven league contests away from home.
No. 21 Iowa (17-8 overall, 8-6 Big Ten) received its typically strong performance from national player of the year candidate Luka Garza. The junior center from Washington, D.C. notched a game-high 38 (14-22 FGs) points to go with eight rebounds and four blocks.
“There were a lot of things that were good. There were a lot of things that weren’t good,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said during his postgame interview on the Hawkeye Radio Network. “You can’t go on the road and give up 16 offensive rebounds. We had way too many turnovers that led to fast-break points. They rely on that.”
Joe Wieskamp added 16 points and six rebounds in the losing effort. Bakari Evelyn chipped in with nine points for Iowa.
The visitors entered the matchup short-handed with previous season-ending injuries and a one-game suspension handed out to Cordell Pemsl (driving with revoked license) earlier this week. The situation worsened when third-leading scorer C.J. Fredrick exited the contest with a right ankle injury. Iowa told the TV broadcasters that the sophomore would be X-rayed when the team returned home.
“Granted, we had some guys out. CJ was out. Couple guys were banged up. That’s part of it,” McCaffery said.
Radio color man Bobby Hansen asked McCaffery after the game what he knew about Fredrick’s injury.
“He has an ankle sprain,” the coach said.
Hansen commented that it was good news it wasn’t broken.
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“It’s nothing worse than (a sprain), but it’s not a good one,” McCaffery said.
Former walk-on Riley Till and current walk-on Austin Ash were pushed into more playing time. Iowa began the night with seven players who came to campus with scholarship offers.
The Hawkeyes looked energized early on, grabbing a 9-5 lead after three minutes were played. The home team responded.
Inconsistent Hoosier guard Devonte Green came off the bench ready to roll. He knocked down four three-pointers in a three-minute span that ignited a 21-7 run, putting Indiana ahead 31-16 with 9 minutes, 48 seconds remaining before the intermission. Iowa trimmed its deficit to 10 points late in the half before yielding a 5-0 spurt heading into the break.
“We didn’t react to Green. You can’t have a guy make seven,” McCaffery said. “You have to react to that guy whether we’re man or zone. You get closer to him on the catch. You make him put it down if he makes it all the way to the rim.”
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Indiana (16-8, 6-7) then started the second half on an 11-6 run and led 60-40 with 15:32 left in the game. The Hawkeyes would fight back.
The visitors trimmed the Hoosier lead to 68-58 in a pair of Wieskamp free throws with 6:21 on the clock. Indiana scored on its next possession before Wieskamp drove to the basket. His shot appeared to be goal tended but it was not called.
McCaffery ran onto the court complaining when there was a loose ball on the rebound of that shot. He was hit with a technical. The Hoosiers increased their lead to 16 shortly after that, and Iowa would not recover.
Indiana came into the contest averaging five treys made an outing. It finished 11 for 21 from behind the arc on Thursday. The Hawkeyes were 4 of 14.
Iowa turned the ball over 19 times leading to 25 points. The Hoosiers won the rebounding battle, 39-28.
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In the Hawkeyes’ six road losses this season, it’s allowed 103, 89, 76 (Nebraska), 82, 104 and 89 points.
Minnesota plays host to Iowa at noon CT on Sunday.
“There’s some stuff to build. We just have to get home and get these guys healthy,” McCaffery said.
-Garza’s 38 points are his second highest point total of the season (44 at Michigan). Garza has scored 20+ points for the 10th straight Big Ten contest, the longest streak by a Hawkeye in 49 years.
-Thursday marked the fifth time this season that Garza netted 30+ points in a game and 10th time that Garza has had 25+ points in a game.
-Garza’s 38 points are the third highest point total scored by a Hawkeye in the McCaffery era.