Wieskamp looks to increase offense against North Florida

Joe Wieskamp hasn’t taken Carver-Hawkeye by storm with his scoring, but he could change that on Thursday.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp goes for a layup during a men's basketball game between Iowa and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. Wieskamp played for 27:47 and scored 16 points in the win.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

Luka Garza’s performance against Oral Roberts on Nov. 15 sparkled like the earrings he put in after the Hawkeyes’ 87-74 victory.

But while Garza and his 30 points couldn’t be stopped, another star lagged behind in the scoring column: Joe Wieskamp.

Wieskamp is averaging 10.3 points per game this season, down from the 11.1 mark he posted in 2018-19.

With Garza’s performances inside, Wieskamp hasn’t been forced to step up to lead the Hawkeyes offensively, but his shooting percentage — which sits at 37.5 percent after hitting shots at a 48.8 percent clip last season — doesn’t bode well moving forward.

When Iowa takes on North Florida at Carver-Hawkeye on Thursday, Wieskamp hopes to change that.

“Last game, there were a lot of opportunities in the post for Luka, Jack [Nunge],” Wieskamp said. “But I think there were still opportunities, not necessarily that I missed, but after watching film, there’s some areas where I could have maybe cut harder to get the ball, set my guy up.”

In his lone previous season with the Hawkeyes, Wieskamp didn’t carry the burden of the scoring load.

Tyler Cook took care of that with his 14.5 points per game. Jordan Bohannon also pitched in with 11.6. Garza followed suit, putting up 13.1.

Those playmakers allowed Wieskamp to play his game without being circled at the top of box scores for opposing teams.

“It definitely is an adjustment,” WIeskamp said. “I think just being at the top of other guys’ scouting reports, they’re putting more focus on me, so that makes it a little harder. Last year, I think Tyler was one of those guys that was on top of the list. He drew a lot of attention, so when he drove, they would collapse onto him, and it would leave me open for an open 3.”

Now, Wieskamp receives the chance to get his numbers up against an athletic North Florida team predicated on 3-point shooting.

The Ospreys enter the game with a 4-1 record, coming off a 115-39 win over Trinity Baptist in which North Florida put up 47 shots from beyond the arc, hitting 21 of them.

It showed its ability to share the ball in the dominant victory, as seven different players scored in double figures and the team assisted on 29 of its 44 buckets.

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North Florida’s only loss came against then-No. 6 Florida in its season-opener by a score of 74-59.

“I think we’re going to have to consistently defend,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “This team is really gifted offensively. They’re capable of putting up a lot of points — not a big mistake group. They run good stuff. They move the ball, share the ball. They defend, they compete. They have an expectation of what the season is going to be like for them.”

Wieskamp said this Osprey squad is unlike anything the Hawkeyes see in Big Ten play.

North Florida plays more like an NBA team than the typical college group, focused on finding open 3-pointers and layups on the offensive end.

Iowa has struggled with perimeter defense in the past — especially in its 93-78 loss to DePaul on Nov. 11 — so it’ll be an integral key as the Hawkeyes prepare to take on a team it has only seen once in its history.

“Run them off the 3-point line — that’s the game plan right there,” freshman point guard Joe Toussaint said. “Run them off the 3-point line and rebound the basketball — that’s for every game, though.”

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