The Breakdown: Many Contributors in Hawkeyes’ 1st Conference Win
IOWA CITY, Iowa – A lot of fun story lines emerged from Sunday’s Iowa win. Jordan Bohannon found his shot, Luka Gazra returned from injury, Ryan Kriener stood out in his first college start and Isaiah Moss recorded his first career double-double.
All of those contributions and others added up to the biggest story line. The Hawkeyes needed guys up and down the roster chipping in for their first Big Ten win of the season.
Five players reach double figures in points for No. 25 Iowa (12-3, 1-3) during a 93-84 victory against 24th-ranked Nebraska at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Six different players grabbed at least three rebounds, seven different guys dished out at least one assist and four different athletes blocked at least one shot.
After an embarrassing loss at Purdue on Thursday during which it allowed 52 first-half points, a well-played, 2-3 zone defense keyed the victory against the Huskers. They were active in the alignment, shutting down the labe and closing out on three-pointer shooters. Nebraska finished 4 of 23 from behind the arc.
“When you lose a tough one like that (at Purdue), you’ve got no other choice but to focus on the next one,” junior Tyler Cook said. “So we went to work the last two days, got ready for this really good Nebraska team, and we came out and handled business. I’m really proud of the guys.”
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Cook, Iowa’s leading scorer and rebounder this season, battled through some foul trouble and only took six shots. He still finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Bohannon, a three-year starter like Cook, enjoyed his best game of the season. He scored 22 of his season-high 25 points in a decisive second half, hitting big three-pointer after big three-pointer. His banked-in triple that beat the first-half buzzer provided his team with momentum heading into the locker room.
“I was just really glad that he had an awesome game,” said classmate Ryan Krieber, who played on the same Martin Brothers AAU squad with Bohannon.
Kriener set screens for his friend, freeing him up in areas he likes to shoot. In turn, Bohannon fed his buddy for open looks. Kriener scored 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the floor.
“There’s a reason he had a lot of schools looking at him back in high school. It was so much fun to play with him because he just screens the crap out of everybody on the court,” Bohannon said.
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Not to be outdone, Moss grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds to go with 12 points. He was a +11 on the afternoon, second only to Bohannon’s +12. They each dished out a team-best five assists.
“It was great to see Isaiah Moss attack that defense. I’m really proud of Isaiah. He had a terrific game,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
Freshman Joe Wieskamp added 10 points for the winners, hitting two of four from three-point land. He also grabbed seven rebounds, including three key ones on the offensive glass. Nicholas Baer came off the Iowa bench to contribute a game-high four steals.
Garza, who missed the last four games with an ankle injury, scored all eight of his points in the first half. He brought energy off the bench and a presence in the middle of the zone defense.
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“Garza really helps them. You can see how he helps them,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. “As soon as he came in, they went full-time zone because you know his mobility is not there, but Luka is a really good player. We watched him a lot on the (AAU) circuit and he brings a lot of elements to the game for them.”
Garza said he felt pretty good. His ankle was tightening up some when he would come out of the game, but adrenaline helped him pull through.
The Hawkeyes helped keep Nebraska (11-4, 1-3) in the game with some sloppy play in the second half. They turned it over four times in six possessions and missed shots on the other two. For the game, they gave it away 13 times helping the Huskers enjoy a 19-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
Iowa made up for that generosity with another strong game from the foul line. One of the top teams in the country in shooting and making free throws, it sank 29 of 32 attempts Sunday. Bohannon led the way by knocking down all 10 of his tries.
The Hawkeyes’ fast-break looked as good as it had this season. They held a 29-16 edge in transition points. Their bench also outscored the visitors, 16-7.
With a Big Ten win finally under their belts, they’ll be challenged to bring what they did Sunday on the road. They travel to Northwestern (10-5, 1-3) Wednesday night (8 p.m. CT, BTN).
It’s not been a good scene away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena for Iowa. It’s 0-2 this year, being blown out both times, and it has trailed by at least 17 points in each of its last 11 contests away from home.