No. 5 Iowa men’s basketball team defeats N.C. Central in season opener

The Hawkeyes move to 1-0 after their 97-67 victory.


Jenna Galligan

Iowa center Luka Garza dunks the ball during the second half of the first Iowa men’s basketball game of the season against the North Carolina Central Eagles at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated Eagles 97-67. (Jenna Galligan/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

The No. 5 Iowa men’s basketball team has its first win of the 2020-21 season.

The Hawkeyes defeated N.C. Central 97-67 on Wednesday in their season opener at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Jordan Bohannon, C.J. Fredrick, Joe Wieskamp, Connor McCaffery, and Luka Garza started for head coach Fran McCaffery’s squad in the first game of the season. Forward Jack Nunge was not with the team for the game. Nunge is with his family following the death of his father, Mark Nunge, over the weekend.

In front of a nearly-empty Carver, the Hawkeyes opened their highly-anticipated 2020-21 campaign.

N.C. Central got out to an early 8-6 lead by the first media timeout. Back to back three-pointers by Fredrick put Iowa up 12-10, the team’s first lead of the day. Then, the Hawkeyes took off. Over a six-minute period toward the end of the first half, Iowa went on a 20-2 run. By halftime, the Hawkeyes led 44-29.

The Hawkeyes continued to dominate in the second half on their way to victory.

Garza, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year and current National Player of the Year favorite, posted 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting with 10 rebounds, three blocks, and two steals in the opening game of the season.

Patrick McCaffery only appeared in two game for Iowa last season before missing the rest of the season with residual health issues related to his previous battle with cancer. Coming off the bench, Patrick McCaffery was Iowa’s second-leading scorer on Wednesday with 16 points. Fredrick finished with 10 points.

Freshman Keegan Murray scored 12 points and hit two 3’s in his first game in the Black and Gold.

The Hawkeyes shot 48 percent from the field, while N.C. Central shot 42 percent.

Iowa’s next game is Friday at 4 p.m. against Southern at Carver.

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