Iowa Men's Basketball

Luka Garza got 44, but Michigan got 103 ... and the win over Iowa basketball

Hawkeye center broke scoring mark for a visiting player at Crisler Center

Iowa center Luka Garza reacts after scoring one of his 17 baskets on the way to 44 points in the Hawkeyes' 103-91 loss a
Iowa center Luka Garza reacts after scoring one of his 17 baskets on the way to 44 points in the Hawkeyes’ 103-91 loss at Michigan Friday night at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — No man is an island, though Luka Garza was at least an Upper Peninsula Friday night in Michigan.

The Iowa junior center scored 44 points Friday night, five more than any other visiting player has ever tallied in 52-year-old Crisler Center. But his basketball team (6-3) got outscored by No. 4 Michigan in the Big Ten opener for both, 103-91.

Garza’s total is third-highest in Hawkeye history and the most by an Iowa player since John Johnson broke his own school single-game record with 49 in February 1970. Johnson’s 46 in a game the season before ranks second.

Garza made 17 of 32 field goal tries and 10 of 13 free throws. He also had six offensive rebounds and drew 11 fouls. He did all that playing on an ankle he sprained in the second half of Iowa’s win at Syracuse Tuesday, and didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday.

“I didn’t really know if I was playing coming in here,” Garza said, “but it feels good, and I knew the adrenaline would kick in like it did.”

Michigan’s defensive plan was to single-team Garza and focus on Iowa’s 3-point threats. Giving up 44 points to the post player isn’t a recommended strategy, but shooters Joe Wieskamp and CJ Fredrick were held to six shots each, and Iowa was a meager 3-of-15 from 3-point distance compared to Michigan’s 10-of-24.

“We need CJ and Joe and J-Bo to spread the offense around a little bit,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “I’m thrilled Luka got 44, but it falls on me. I’ve got to get Joe and CJ more shots.”

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More defensive stops are what were needed. Michigan (8-1) shot 54.8 percent from the floor, much of it on open 3s and layups.

It was pick-your-poison for the Hawkeyes’ defense. When Michigan point guard extraordinaire Zavier Simpson returned to the game with 7:36 after sitting out over eight minutes following his third foul, Iowa tried sending Garza with a guard out at Simpson.

It didn’t work. Simpson set up glaringly open senior forward Austin Davis for consecutive dunks after Iowa had pulled within 78-71, the closest the game was after halftime.

Davis had a career-high eight points. Sophomore reserve forward Brandon Johns had a career-high 12, and was one of six Wolverines with at least that much. Garza, meanwhile, had almost half of his team’s points.

“I most certainly would rather have had the ‘W,’” Garza said.

“They tried the gameplan of staying on our shooters and kind of let me go one-on-one. You go one-on-one with me, I try to go to the basket to score as much as I can.”

“He’s a guy with a ton of different moves,” McCaffery said.

“He never stops moving. He sprints hard in transition, posts hard. So he’s a handful for any defender that’s trying to guard him and he draws a lot of fouls.”

Garza worked over 7-foot-1 Michigan senior Jon Teske and his backups in piling up 27 first-half points.

“Teske is one of the best post defenders in the Big Ten, he really is,” said Iowa guard Connor McCaffery.

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“I was trying to get him in foul trouble and try to run him as much as I could,” said Garza, who is averaging 22.7 points.

Iowa hadn’t allowed 103 points since giving up that number against Indiana in 2012. They’ll try to hold Minnesota to significantly less when the two teams meet Monday in Iowa City at 7 p.m.

Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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