Luka Garza named Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Week

Garza averaged 33.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and three blocks per game in Iowa’s first two wins of the season.


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

Iowa men’s basketball player Luka Garza has been named the first Big Ten Player of the Week of the 2020-21 season following the Hawkeyes’ two victories last week. The announcement came Monday by the Big Ten Conference.

Garza, the 6-foot-11 senior center, averaged 33.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in wins over North Carolina Central (97-67) and Southern University (103-76). The reigning Big Ten Player of the Year and consensus All-American hit 86.2 percent of his field goal attempts, and his scoring average is currently tops among Division I players.

Against Southern University in Iowa’s second game of the season, Garza went off for 41 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks. He netted 36 first-half points, which is believed to be the most points scored by a Hawkeye in a half in program history. In the first half, Garza made all 12 field-goal attempts and was 10-of-12 from the free throw line.

Garza’s 41 points are the most points scored by a Hawkeye in a single-game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena history (1983), besting the 36 scored by Adam Haluska (2006) and Rob Griffin (2000). He finished the contest with a .933 field goal percentage (14-of-15), including a perfect 1.000 (3-of-3) from 3-point range, which is the best single-game mark by a Big Ten player since 1984 (Minnesota’s Tommy Davis, 15-of-16, at Indiana).

In Iowa’s season opener against North Carolina Central, Garza posted his 21st career double-double, recording game highs in scoring (26), rebounds (10), and blocked shots (three).

Garza tallied 20 points or more in both games last week and in 18 straight dating back to last season. That ties Oklahoma’s Trae Young (2017-18) for the second-longest streak by a major conference player over the last 20 seasons, trailing only North Carolina State’s T.J. Warren (19).

Garza’s 67 points last week moved him into Iowa’s top 10 in career scoring, surpassing Dean Oliver, Adam Haluska, and Jess Settles. Garza (1,626) is 10 points from moving past Matt Gatens (1,635) for eighth place.

The center is one of two players in program history to score 40 points or more in two games in a career (John Johnson, 49 and 46). Garza netted 44 points at Michigan last season.

Garza earned two Big Ten Player of the Week honors last season.

No. 3 Iowa (2-0) will host Western Illinois (0-0) on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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