Fredrick’s hot shooting carries Iowa over Cal Poly

The redshirt freshman guard hit five 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 21 points.


Katina Zentz

Iowa guard CJ Fredrick drives the ball during the men's basketball game against Cal Poly at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, November 24, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Mustangs 85-59.

Robert Read, Assistant Sports Editor

After Iowa won the opening tip against Cal Poly on Sunday, freshman guard C.J. Fredrick opened the scoring for the Hawkeyes with an uncontested 3-pointer — his first of many on the afternoon.

Fredrick posted a breakout performance in Iowa’s 85-59 victory over the Mustangs, the fifth game of his young career.

The Cincinnati native finished with a career-high 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field. He was a perfect 5-of-5 from beyond the arc.

“[Tonight], I was just trying to stay confident, stay aggressive,” Fredrick said. “My teammates kept telling me to stay aggressive. That’s what I did. I just played my game.”

The 3 to open the game was huge for Fredrick.

Through four games, he had only connected on four 3-pointers. After seeing the first one go through the net, Fredrick was determined to keep shooting.

“It’s big — it’s big for any shooter,” Fredrick said. “I was kind of shocked that I was that open. I was like, ‘Well, I’m going to shoot this.’ It went in, and from there, everything felt good.”

Fredrick has started every game for Iowa this season at shooting guard. Prior to Sunday’s game, he had only scored in double figures once.

Part of that was Fredrick passing up open shots, something he wasn’t going to do with the hot hand against Cal Poly.

“I just felt like myself again,” he said. “I felt like the past couple games I just wasn’t myself. I was passing up shots. I just came out and if I was open, I was going to shoot it. If [the defender] is in my space, I’m going to try to make a play for other people.”

Fredrick did more than just drop 3-pointers against the Mustangs. He tallied 5 assists, including one on a bounce pass to Iowa center Luka Garza in transition for an easy layup.

Garza is the center of attention for every defense Iowa faces. He’s going to face double teams, leaving sharpshooters like Fredrick open on the perimeter.

“[Cal Poly] decided they were going to double me as soon as I caught the ball,” Garza said. “The first play when they doubled me, we swung it around and got a 3. That makes it tough on them — they have to make a decision. If they want to continue to double like they did, then he’s going to hit 3s.”

With the playing status of Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon, Jack Nunge, and Patrick McCaffery up in the air, Fredrick is likely to see an increase in shot attempts.

With the shooting touch he displayed against Cal Poly, that could spell trouble for the opposing team.

“C.J. plays both ends,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “He defends. He makes plays for other people. He makes shots. That’s who he is. He is a complete player. So as impressed as I am with him, I’m not surprised. That’s what I expect; that’s what he expects from himself. He is a really good player.”

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