No. 11 Hawkeyes down Nittany Lions, 74-68, on historic Sunday afternoon

Senior center Luka Garza became Iowa men’s basketball’s all-time leading scorer in the Hawkeyes’ 11th conference victory of the 2020-21 season.



Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa center Luka Garza (55) shoots a basket during the first half of a men’s basketball game against Penn State on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021 at Carver Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes are down five points against the Nittany Lions, 36-41. At halftime Garza is two points away from breaking the record for Iowa’s all-time leading scorer. Mandatory Credit: Hannah Kinson/Daily Iowan via USA TODAY Network

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

History appeared to be in the making before No. 11 Iowa men’s basketball’s matchup with with Penn State Sunday afternoon, as senior center Luka Garza entered the game needing just 14 points to become the program’s all-time leading scorer.

While Garza did nab the record in the second half, the Hawkeyes still had work ahead of them.

Iowa entered the second half trailing, 41-36, despite claiming an early first half lead.

Iowa jumped out to a quick 19-6 lead behind eight points from sophomore guard C.J. Fredrick in the game’s first seven minutes.

Shortly after, the Nittany Lions began to rally back, shooting 7-of-8 from the floor after a 2-of-8 start to the game.

Before the half ended, Penn State had claimed a 41-36 lead and Hawkeye head coach Fran McCaffery had been assessed a technical foul.

In the second half, Iowa would claw its way back into the game, taking a 51-49 lead over the Nittany Lions at the 13:28 mark.

Eventually, the Hawkeyes made a run of their own as a transition 3-pointer from Jordan Bohannon with 5:26 remaining in the game would give Iowa a 67-56 edge over Penn State.

While the Hawkeyes’ lead would shrink before the final buzzer sounded, they would still hang on and beat the Nittany Lions, 74-68.

Garza passes Roy Marble, becomes Iowa’s all-time leading scorer

After a 12-point first half, just two points stood between Garza and the University of Iowa’s all-time scoring record, but he would have to work for them. Garza had his share of opportunities early in the half, missing a shot from point-blank range to eclipse Marble’s mark.

The officials did call a foul following Garza’s miss. After he hit his first charity shot, his next attempt was to break Marble’s record.

Garza’s second attempt did not meet the same fate as the first, as he missed everything on his second foul shot.

So, head coach Fran McCaffery would call Garza back to the bench just one point shy of history with 15:12 remaining in the game.

When he finally reentered Sunday’s game, Garza would become Iowa’s all-time leading scorer, dropping a short shot with 8:18 remaining in the game. Garza passed Marble’s 2,116-point career mark that stood as Iowa’s all-time record for 32 years.

Bohannon nears Iowa’s all-time assists record

Garza wasn’t the only Hawkeye pursuing history Sunday, as guard Jordan Bohannon needed just eight assists coming into Iowa’s contest with Penn State to become the Hawkeyes’ all-time leading assist man. He would finish the game with six assists, needing just two in Iowa’s next game to claim the record.

Fredrick returns to form

Since he left Iowa’s Jan. 21 matchup with Indiana with a lower leg injury, Fredrick just had not looked like himself, failing to eclipse the 10-point mark in each of the games he played. That changed Sunday, as the sophomore guard was Iowa’s second-leading scorer on the day with 18 points.

Fredrick missed four games between Jan. 21 and Feb. 18.

McCaffery earns 100th Big Ten win

In his tenth season at the helm of Iowa’s men’s basketball program, Fran McCaffery earned his 100th Big Ten Conference win Sunday. McCaffery has been coaching Division I men’s basketball since 1985.

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