It felt too easy.
For Luka Garza, it felt just right.
Two games into the season, the Iowa center has picked up where he left off in his dominance from last season.
His 41-point game in the Hawkeyes’ 103-76 win over Southern on Friday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena was almost perfect — 14-of-15 from the field, 3-of-3 in 3-pointers, 10-of-12 in free throws.
It’s what the senior center wants.
“Whenever I get the ball, I feel like I can score,” Garza said. “Sometimes you have those days where you’re just making shots. I put enough work into each shot that when I put it up, I have a strong feeling that it’s going to go in.”
Garza was 12-of-12 from the field in the first half, then his only miss came 28 seconds into the second half.
“I kind of just felt like every shot I took, I should have made,” Garza said. “The one I missed, I felt like I should have made it as well. I have that confidence every time I step on the floor. I feel like I can make every shot I take.”
Southern wasn’t exactly a tall team — the Jaguars have just three players 6-foot-9 or taller, so Garza was able to feast on the size advantage.
But what Iowa coach Fran McCaffery liked was the way Garza shot when he stepped outside.
“Like I’ve been telling you guys, he’s just been killing the three-ball, shooting it with confidence,” McCaffery said of Garza, last year’s Big Ten player of the year and the lone unanimous selection to the Associated Press’ preseason All-American team.
Garza finished three points off his career high, and joined John Johnson as the only players in program history with two or more 40-point games.
Garza has three of the program’s top 11 scoring games. His total was the most points scored by a Hawkeye in a single game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, beating the previous record of 36 scored by Adam Haluska (2006) and Rob Griffin (2000). The arena record is 45 points, scored by Brian Quinnett of Washington State in 1986.
“That’s a big number,” McCaffery said. “Kudos to our guys to realize he had it going, and load him up.”
Garza added nine rebounds, three blocks, and drew eight fouls.
“I mean, he’s terrific,” said forward Joe Wieskamp, who had 16 points. “He’s a terrific player, and he’s going to be like that all season long.”
Wieskamp bounced back after his 9-point game in Wednesday’s 97-67 win over North Carolina Central in which he dealt with foul trouble.
“I think everybody overreacts,” McCaffery said. “His minutes were limited (on Wednesday). You give him the minutes, he’s going to make shots.”
Freshman Keegan Murray chipped in nine for the Hawkeyes.
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