Garza, Baer lead Iowa hoops past Green Bay

After a tight first half, the Hawkeyes pulled away in the second to improve their record to 2-0.


Chris Kalous

Iowa’s Luka Garza shoots a jumper at the beginning of the first half during the Iowa Vs. Green Bay basketball game. The Hawkeyes defeated the Phoenix, 93-83 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa continues its undefeated record next week against No.14 Oregon.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

All Iowa needed in its nonconference matchup against Green Bay was a little Luka Garza. Although, that almost wasn’t enough until the end of the second half.

The Hawkeyes scraped by to pick up a 93-82 victory over the Phoenix in Carver-Hawkeye on Nov. 11.

Thanks to Garza, Iowa never got too far behind Green Bay in the early stages. The 6-11 big man from Washington stepped up to fill the bucket with 11 points in the first half before raising that mark to 17 on 8-of-12 shooting by the game’s end to go along with 5 rebounds and 2 assists.

“Our offense was consistent all the way through,” Garza said. “We were getting the ball inside, we were scoring. Once we started playing a little bit better defense, we took off and kind of got a little lead.”

Despite the final score finding its way into double-digits in Iowa’s favor, the game was a lot closer than that for the majority of the afternoon.

The Phoenix only trailed by 1 at the half, as a scrappy, opportunistic defense helped force Hawkeye turnovers that added up to a few easy points in transition.

Nicholas Baer played a key role in keeping the game as close as it was.

Baer posted 12 points and 6 rebounds coming off the bench, with 8 of those points coming in the first half. He also scooted through a wide-open lane for a rim-rattling dunk to give the Hawkeyes an immediate spark.

“He was phenomenal both ways,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “He was probably the reason we were up in the first half. We were only up by 1, but he was the reason for that.”

Point guard Jordan Bohannon came out firing in the second, knocking down 2 3-pointers early after a scoreless first half.

He hit back-to-back bombs to give the Hawkeyes a 6-point lead. Iowa didn’t trail again.

“I just let the game come to me,” Bohannon said. “I didn’t feel a need to be too aggressive … I’ve always been that type of player — never really rushing shots or really taking out-of-rhythm shots, and my teammates did a really good job in the second half of finding me.”

In addition to Garza’s and Bohannon’s performances, forward Tyler Cook added 17 points (on 4-of-6 shooting) and 6 rebounds. He also had a monster and-1 slam that very well could have set off US Geological Survey seismometers.

The Hawkeyes got the win but gave up 82 to a Green Bay squad that averaged 76.3 last season, including 42 points in the paint, even though the Hawks said they believed they had an advantage in the post.

Green Bay scored 42 points inside, while the Hawkeyes also dropped in 42.

Despite scoring the same in-close as the Phoenix, the Hawkeyes took advantage of their size and found their way to the free-throw line.

Iowa shot 45 free throws, hitting 34 of them. In the past two games, the Hawkeyes have shot a combined 83 shots from the charity stripe.

“We always want to shoot more free throws than our opponents, because obviously, that means that we’re driving the ball, we’re getting the ball inside,” Baer said. “In these last two games, we felt like we’ve had an advantage inside, so we’re trying to go inside of the post, and our post guys have done a great job of sealing and being available in the post.”