Hawkeyes don’t panic, snap road losing streak with late comeback

Iowa ended the game on an 11-0 run to defeat Minnesota and win its first road game in the Big Ten since Jan. 14.


Iowa center Luka Garza dunks the ball during a men’s basketball game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Nebraska Huskers at Carver-Hawkeye arena on Saturday, February 8, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated the Huskers 96-72.

Robert Read, Sports Editor

Trailing late in the game on the road in the Big Ten with a depleted lineup and your star center in foul trouble —no problem for Iowa this time around.

With 5:25 remaining in the second half, the Hawkeyes trailed Minnesota, 55-47. Luka Garza had spent long stretches of the half on the bench with foul trouble and was about to enter the game with four personal fouls.

Finally getting over the recent hurdle of winning away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena in conference play, Iowa scored the final 11 points of the game to defeat the Golden Gophers, 58-55.

“You have to stay the course,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “They go up eight, you can’t give them any more buckets. Not with as little time left as there was. Gotta come down and execute and get your defense back.”

Garza scored the first eight points for either side Sunday and put the first 10 points on the board for the Hawkeyes.

On his fifth made shot in the first five minutes of the game, Garza surpassed 600 points on the season. He’s only the 12th Hawkeye to ever pass that mark in a single season.

The only thing that seems to slow Garza down this season is foul trouble.

The junior was forced to sit most of the final stretch of the first half after picking up his second foul. Joe Toussaint and Cordell Pemsl also committed two fouls early, limiting McCaffery’s lineup options even more.

CJ Fredrick missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. He is currently listed as day to day. 

With Fredrick out, Ryan Kriener was inserted into Iowa’s starting lineup. The senior finished with 10 points, six rebounds, and four blocks in a performance the Hawkeyes desperately needed.

“Kriener gave us what he had to give us,” Fran McCaffery said. “I look at him as another guy who is a starter. He’s a veteran guy; he’s a senior. He’s really an incredibly intelligent player. He’s an efficient, physical player, constantly communicating out there.”

With Garza on the bench and Joe Wieskamp seemingly a non-factor, Minnesota used a 17-2 run in the final stretch of the first half to go into the break with a 31-26 lead.

Garza picked up his third foul just under six minutes into the second half. At the 7:28 mark, he picked up his fourth.

Despite being forced to the bench for extended periods of time, Garza finished with 24 points and eight rebounds. It’s the 11th straight game for Garza with over 20 points.

On a call that can be called questionable at best, Garza fouled out with 3.8 seconds remaining to give Minnesota center Daniel Oturu a chance to tie the game at the free-throw line.

With Minnesota down by two, Oturu missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Add in a free throw by Connor McCaffery and Iowa picked up its first win on the road since Jan. 14, snapping a three-game road losing streak.

“I think there was a belief,” Fran McCaffery said. “In the huddle, the feeling within this team is that we’re going to win the game. Luka said it, he verbalized it. There was never any panic. You cannot go on the road and get down eight with five minutes to go and panic.”

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