Wooden Award favorite Luka Garza has accomplished a lot in Iowa. Before the season is out, he is likely to become the School’s all-time leading scorer and perhaps the most decorated player in the history of the School. School.
But despite all the individual accolades, one particular fact of Saturday’s 77-75 victory in the Big Ten at No. 14 Rutgers stood out for Garza.
” I told the guys before the game that we had never beaten a ranked team on the road since they were in the Hawkeye uniform, so being able to do that gives us tremendous confidence,” he said.
With that significant victory in his hip pocket, No. 5 Iowa looks to avoid disappointment Thursday night in Conference for Maryland.
Many have touted the Hawkeyes (9-2, 3-1) as a potential Conference champion and Final Four contender, citing Garza’s dominance on the inside and a clique of capable 3-point shooters around him. In fact, Iowa’s 92.7 points per game ranks fifth in Division I and Garza’s 27.5 points per game lead the nation among players with more than two games played.
But Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery set his eyes on another statistic shortly after his team became the second opponent in 26 games to emerge from the Rutgers building with a victory.
” When you can face 11 guys in a two-point game, that says a lot about your team,” he said. ” It was our depth and courage that allowed us to win.”
Garza’s 25 points led the way, but there were several key contributors. Freshman Keegan Murray came off the bench with 14 points and nine rebounds, and senior Jordan Bohannon made three 3s to overtake Joe Crispin (Penn State) for ninth on the league’s all-time triples list. Conference with 310.
Iowa doesn’t outdo itself often. He averages 9.9 turnovers per game and also makes more free throws than his opponents attempt, based on having Garza as his number one choice.
Maryland (6-5, 1-4) seems ill-equipped for the surprise. The Terrapins are good on defense, ranking fourth in the Conference with 66.6 points allowed per game and holding opponents to 42.9 percent shooting. But they have struggled to score against the best teams in the Big Ten.
Case in point: Monday night’s 63-55 loss at Indiana. Maryland controlled most of the first half, but breakdowns at both ends of the court caused the Hoosiers’ Trace Jackson-Davis to lose 22 points and 15 rebounds.
The Terrapins are averaging 72.6 points per game, a number inflated by a series of high-scoring nonConference wins. In Conference games, that number drops to 65.6.
” Our offense disappointed us tonight,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. ” We didn’t move the ball as well as needed. We missed a lot of open shots from the inside out, and then we just didn’t pass the ball fast enough.”
” We are holding it for a second longer, and we are losing some opportunities. It is a daily fight with me with this team, and we have to keep fighting.”
Eric Ayala is the Terrapins’ leading scorer with 14.3 points per game, while Donna Scott hits for 12.9 and Aaron Wiggins adds 11.5.
–Field level media
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.