Luka Garza dominates as Iowa men’s basketball beats Southern University

Senior center Luka Garza had 41 points in Iowa’s 103-76 win on Friday.


Jenna Galligan

Iowa center Luka Garza makes a shot during the Iowa men’s basketball game against the Southern University Jaguars at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated the Jaguars 103-76 in their first game against them since 2017. (Jenna Galligan/The Daily Iowan)

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

Luka Garza showed the nation why he is the Preseason National Player of the Year on Friday.

The No. 5 ranked Iowa men’s basketball team celebrated Black Friday by beating Southern University, 103-76. Led by Garza’s 41 points, the team went up 2-0 on the season and 2-0 all-time on Southern University.

Garza started the scoring with a deep 3-point shot, and guard Joe Wieskamp followed it up with another, putting Iowa up 6-0 early in the first. Iowa went on to an 11-0 run to start the game as Southern took over three minutes to score its first basket. The Hawkeyes never looked back after that, leading the entire game.

Garza tallied an Iowa program record 36 points in the first half, playing 19 minutes and going 12-of-12 in field goals and 10-of-12 in free throws. At halftime he had more points than Southern’s combined 35.

Garza didn’t miss his first shot until Iowa’s first possession of the second half. He only added five points to his total in the second half, playing 10 minutes.

After getting his fourth foul with just over six minutes remaining in the game, Garza was replaced by forward Patrick McCaffery and sat the rest of the time. Garza came just short of a double-double, with a final stat line of 41 points, nine rebounds, and zero assists in 29 minutes played. He went 14 of 15 in the field for a 93 percent shooting percentage.

With his 41 points, Garza became the second Hawkeye in program history to score 40 or more points in two games in their career. Despite his impressive game, Garza emphasized the team’s overall priorities.

“No one’s worried about anything except scoring the basketball and winning the game,” Garza said. “I didn’t say anything to anybody, I think they were just finding me in my spots, and I was open, and I was able to get the ball in a position to score… I think that’s just how our team is, we’re unselfish and we move the ball, and sometimes it’s going to be somebody’s night, and sometimes it’s going to be somebody else’s. I’m just grateful to be a part of a team like this, that’s that unselfish.”

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He said during the game, he wasn’t paying attention to how many shots he was making.

“I don’t even think I realized,” Garza said. “I kind of just felt like every shot I took I should’ve made. The one I missed, I felt like I could’ve made that shot as well.”

Head coach Fran McCaffery said he’s excited about Garza’s three-point potential this season, and attributed Garza’s impressive performance to the smaller stature of the Southern team.

In the second half, Iowa had a problem with offensive rebounding. Over the entire game, the Hawkeyes were outrebounded offensively, 19-10. Garza said the rebounds were because the team got too comfortable with the lead in the second half and noted to hold the team accountable in the future.

Head coach Fran McCaffery agreed, saying it was the thing he was most upset about in the second half.

“Really, what was the one thing that upset me? Their offensive rebounding and our lack of offensive rebounding,” McCaffery said. “And we’re gonna miss shots, we’re gonna have stretches where we’re not making shots. You get to the offensive glass, they had 19, we had 10. We’re not supposed to get outrebounded in this game.”

Junior guard Joe Wieskamp said despite the win on paper, the team still needs to improve. Wieskamp was the only other Hawkeye to score double digits, with 16 points.

“Obviously, we won by 30, everyone thinks it’s a great game,” Wieskamp said. “But these are games that prepare ourselves for Gonzaga and Iowa State and North Carolina, leading up to the Big Ten season, so we gotta really take advantage of these games and get better.”

The Hawkeyes are back at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Dec. 3 against Western Illinois.

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