Iowa men’s basketball forward Filip Rebraca steps up in win over Iowa State

The fifth-year senior and North Dakota transfer scored 22 points and pulled down 11 boards in a 75-56 victory over the No. 20 Cyclones with top scorer Kris Murray sidelined.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa forward Filip Rebraca shoots a layup during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Iowa State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Dec. 8, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones, 75-56. Rebraca scored 22 points and collected 11 rebounds.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter

With Iowa men’s basketball’s top scorer Kris Murray sidelined with a lower body injury sustained in Tuesday night’s loss to No. 15 Duke at Madison Square Garden, Serbian import Filip Rebraca stepped up in a big win for the Hawkeyes over in-state rival Iowa State on Thursday.

The No. 20 Cyclones couldn’t slow down the 6-foot-9 big man, as he compiled 22 points and 11 rebounds in a convincing 75-56 victory to push the Hawkeyes to 7-2 on the year.

Rebraca put down nine of his 11 field goal attempts in the contest, including going 2-for-2 from behind the arc to push his season 3-point shooting percentage to 66.7 percent. He is 2-for-3 on the year. 

Rebraca dished out four dimes and swatted three shots to add to his stat sheet-stuffing performance. He recorded a team-best +/- score of 22 in 37 minutes.

“I felt like my shooting was pretty good,” Rebraca said. “I haven’t had a game yet this season where I was comfortable shooting a three but they left me wide open, and I put two up and they went in. That’s what I worked on this summer.”

Rebraca said he felt it was necessary to step up offensively with Murray out of commission.

“I felt like I went out there and made plays,” Rebraca said. “Not just for myself to score, but when I got the ball in the high post, I feel like I made very good decisions and helped my teammates out.”

After a 73-53 drubbing at the hands of the Cyclones in 2021, Rebraca said the Hawkeyes wanted to get revenge for last season’s then-16th-ranked  Iowa squad.

“We remember what happened last year,” Rebraca said. “We wanted to come out and show what we’re about. I think we imposed our will throughout the whole game. We were up in their space [defensively] and didn’t give up many offensive rebounds.”

Iowa State head coach TJ Otzelberger praised Rebraca’s toughness after the game. Five of Rebraca’s 11 boards came on the offensive end of the floor.

“He was the more physical guy a lot of the night,” Otzelberger said of Rebraca. “He did a great job of finishing plays on the glass. He was all over the offensive glass, he was effective in the paint, and he had great intent to how he played.”

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said Rebraca has continued to gain confidence throughout his time in the program.

He said this is the player he envisioned bringing to Iowa City when he nabbed him from the portal following the 2020-21 season. 

“He did this every night [at North Dakota],” McCaffery said. “Last year, he came in as a starter who was an integral part of a Big Ten championship team, but everything was new [for him]. Our terminology was different, how we scout teams was different, and how we travel on trips and who we’re playing was an upgrade from what he saw before. It stands to reason that in year two [in Iowa City], he would be ready.”

McCaffery added that Rebraca showed plenty of grit in the win.

“Filip Rebraca is a gamer,” McCaffery said. “He will fight you. He’s just going to keep coming. Boy, was he impressive tonight.”