IOWA CITY – The Iowa men’s basketball team snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday, returning home to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to beat Southern, 91-60. The Hawkeyes got back in the win column thanks in large part to Luka Garza, and saw the season debut of Connor McCaffery.
Here are three quick takeaways from the game:
1. Much, much cleaner game
Sunday’s opponent was not of the same caliber as Iowa had faced in the last two weeks, but still, the fact that the Hawkeyes had just seven turnovers – only one in the second half – is at least a sign that things improved from three straight games of 18-plus turnovers.
Iowa valuing the ball coincided with much better ball movement. The Hawkeyes had 22 assists on 28 field goals as a team, led by Jordan Bohannon, who had four points, five assists and no turnovers.
The Hawkeyes were supposed to win Sunday, and while they struggled early in the game – down six points with 8:28 to go in the first half – they recovered for 50 points after cleaning up the six early turnovers and figuring out the Southern zone defense.
2. Luka Garza had a huge impact
Luka Garza had a career-high 23 points and tied a career-high with 13 rebounds Sunday, offering a bounce-back effort after losing his starting position and struggling in multiple games recently. The best that could be said Sunday, though, was he did his best work with two fouls in the first half.
Garza checked in the game at 15:03 of the first half, and had four points and one rebound before subbing out with two fouls at 10:22 to. He then sat until 5:11 to go. From there, he had 10 points and seven rebounds. If head coach Fran McCaffery had stuck with his normal policy of sitting players with two fouls in the first half – something Tyler Cook had to deal with – the Hawkeyes’ first half could’ve been very different.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
3. Tyler Cook’s dunks get techs
While McCaffery had to admonish his bench for laughing at it, his reverse pivot left handed dunk that led to a technical foul was pretty nasty. Regardless of the tech, other teams will see that on film.
It was a cathartic scream from Cook, who was in foul trouble all game.