CJ Fredrick didn’t play.
Luka Garza scored eight points.
Iowa won by 30 points at Michigan State because, why not?
The 88-58 victory, the Hawkeyes’ largest ever in East Lansing, was the product of the Hawkeyes’ depth, and also a sign that they have shaken whatever ailed them just a week ago.
Iowa had lost four of its previous five games, but after a 13-point win over Rutgers on Wednesday and this rout, suddenly the Hawkeyes have their momentum back.
“It was a big team win for us,” said forward Jack Nunge, who came of the bench to tie a career high with 18 points and add career highs with 11 rebounds and six assists. “Everybody, across the board, played well.”
That’s not a cliché. Iowa’s box score was full of big days, from Joe Wieskamp’s 21 points to Connor McCaffery’s 16. The Hawkeyes shot 49.2 percent from the field for the game, outrebounded the Spartans 46-37 while holding them to just 35.5 percent shooting.
There were other contributions, from Keegan Murray scoring eight points to Patrick McCaffery’s six.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery rattled off all of the names of players who contributed, and it was almost the entire box score.
All of this came on a day when the Hawkeyes were without Fredrick, who is expected to be a game-day decision for the rest of the season because of a lower-leg injury. And Garza, the nation’s leading scorer at more than 25 points per game, was held to his lowest point total of the season on just 3-of-11 shooting.
“It shows how complete of a team we have,” Wieskamp said. “Obviously Luka’s drawn a lot of national attention, but we’ve got a lot of guys who can get the job done, especially on a day like today when he was struggling. Guys just stepped up and hit big shots after big shots.”
“What really impressed me was how happy Luka was in the locker room,” Fran McCaffery said. “For his teammates, for the victory. That says all you need to know about our leader.”
Wieskamp has been especially impressive as of late. He is averaging 17.5 points over his last nine games, shooting 54.9 percent from the field, 60.8 percent in 3-pointers.
Wieskamp was 7-of-13 from the field, 5-of-7 in 3-pointers.
“He’s playing phenomenal,” Nunge said. “It seems like every time he shoots it, you think it’s going in, and a lot of times it has been. He’s been on fire from three the last couple of games, and that opens up the floor for everybody.”
Iowa had just played Michigan State 11 days earlier, taking an 84-78 win. So the Spartans certainly weren’t strangers.
“We knew what they were going to do,” Nunge said.
What the Spartans didn’t do was beat the Hawkeyes on the offensive boards. They had 20 rebounds that led to 28 second-chance points in the earlier meeting, but Iowa held them to 11 offensive rebounds and 10 second-chance points.
“So we knew if we wanted to win today, we couldn’t let that happen again,” Nunge said. “From top to bottom, we knew what we needed to do, and everybody executed.”
“I think the key for us was limiting them to one shot,” Wieskamp said. “They didn’t get as many offensive rebounds as they did against us at home.”
“They missed 40 shots today, and only got 11 of them back,” McCaffery said. “And typically they’re a team that’s not only going to get a bunch back, but outrebound you.”
Iowa led 46-27 at halftime, and by as much as 34 in the second half.
What was forgotten was that skid that wasn’t too long ago — a product, McCaffery said, of playing in the Big Ten, one of the toughest conferences in the country.
It was something McCaffery talked about on his radio show this week, about the players and the coaches within the league.
“We sort of brag about how great our league is, and then people are surprised when a team loses,” he said. “Well, somebody’s going to lose. The question is, what do you do then? You don’t start finger-pointing, you don’t start blaming. You just grind.
“And if you get on a winning streak, if you’re fortunate enough to do that, you better not get too full of yourself, because somebody is sitting right there in the next (game). So I think all of us hope this kind of grind will benefit our teams in the NCAA Tournament.”