Garza shines in Iowa’s loss to Michigan

Iowa's center scored a career-high 44 points on Friday, but it wasn't enough as the Hawkeyes lost 103-91 in Ann Arbor.


Katina Zentz

Iowa center Luka Garza 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. Garza made 8 of his 13 baskets.

Robert Read, Assistant Sports Editor

It was a one-man show for Iowa men’s basketball against Michigan on Friday night. Iowa center Luka Garza scored a career-high 44 points against the Wolverines, but that wasn’t enough for the Hawkeyes in their 103-91 loss in Ann Arbor.

Garza finished the first half with 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting. It was the most points scored in a half by a Hawkeye since Jarrod Uthoff had 30 in the first half against Iowa State in 2015.

“He’s a guy that has a ton of different moves,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “I thought we did a really good job collectively of getting him the ball. He never stops moving, he sprints hard in transition. He’s a handful for any defender that’ trying to guard him.”

Garza’s scoring success came despite spending most of the game being defended by Michigan’s Jon Teske. The big man for the Wolverines is regarded as one of the best defenders in the Big Ten, but he couldn’t contain Garza.

After sinking a pair of free throws with 12:27 remaining in the first half, Garza hit 1,000 points for his career. He is the 49th player in program history to cross that milestone.

The stellar first half from Iowa’s junior center was necessary for the Hawkeyes. Iowa trailed 50-38 in large part to an inability to find points from someone other than Garza. Hawkeyes other than Garza combined to shoot 4-of-15 from the field for 11 points in the first 20 minutes of play.

Garza continued to dominate Michigan in the second half. He scored 17 points after halftime on his way to 44 on the night. He finished 17-of-32 from the field and 10-of-13 from the free-throw line.

Garza’s 44 points are the third most in a single game in school history, and the most points any Iowa player has scored since John Johnson scored a school-record 49 points against Northwestern in 1970.

The point total is also the most scored by a visiting player in Crisler Center history and the second highest scoring outing by any player in the building’s history.

Despite Garza’s career night, Michigan was too much for the Hawkeyes. The Wolverines shot 55.2 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Michigan’s 103 points is the most the team has scored in conference play since 1998.

“I thought the zone was good for a while, but they had multiple guys making 3’s,” McCaffery said. “Brandon Johns makes two, [Zavier] Simpson makes two. They’re X-factor guys when it comes to shooting. Simpson’s a lot better this year when it comes to percentages.”

Michigan’s offensive output was much more potent against Iowa than it was earlier in the week. In Michigan’s previous game against Louisville it scored only 43 points.

Michigan had a very balanced scoring attack against the Hawkeyes. Franz Wagner led the Wolverines with 18 points, but he was only one of six Michigan players to score in double figures.

This marks the third loss for Iowa on the season, and the first in Big Ten play. Iowa’s three losses have come to teams with a combined record of 26-1 (DePaul, San Diego State, Michigan).

The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to face Minnesota on Monday.

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