IOWA CITY — Joe’s Place, as any self-respecting University of Iowa student or graduate knows, is an 85-year-old downtown bar in this city.
Carver-Hawkeye Arena was Joe’s Place II Monday night. Sophomore guard Joe Wieskamp poured in a season-high 23 points to guide Iowa to a 72-52 men’s basketball win over Minnesota.
Joe sent a jolt through the crowd (announced at 10,442) with 9:20 left in the game when he blocked a 3-point shot by Minnesota’s Tre’ Williams, raced down the floor, and dunked for a 57-45 Iowa lead, ending a 7-0 Gophers run.
“l knew we needed a big play so I made something happen,” Wieskamp said.
“With my long wingspan that I may look a little farther away, but I can recover up in their space a lot quicker than they may think.
“It felt really good.”
It all felt good, because Iowa’s defense was a misnomer in its 103-91 loss at Michigan last Friday. Wieskamp’s block propelled a 7-2 run for the Hawkeyes and sent them on their merry way toward leveling their Big Ten record at 1-1 and overall mark at 7-3. Minnesota is 0-1, 4-5.
“Not my best performance at Michigan,” Wieskamp said. “I watched a lot of tape on things where I can improve, both offensively and defensively.
“Tonight I came out aggressive from the get-go.”
Wieskamp was on heat check early in this one. He sank three 3-pointers and had 11 points in the first 4:10 to stake the Hawkeyes to a 13-6 lead. It was a lead they briefly lost, but they finished the half with a flourish and a 37-29 advantage.
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Then came the second half, when Luka Garza scored six points and Wieskamp five as Iowa outscored the Gophers 14-5 before the first TV timeout of the half for a 51-34 lead. The margin was double-digits the rest of the way.
Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon, known across the Big Ten and beyond as a shooter, was scoreless. Yet, he had an excellent game with 10 assists and zero turnovers.
“He’s just so skilled,” Wieskamp said. His shot’s not falling or tonight he wasn’t getting a lot of open looks, he was finding other guys, especially myself.”
“It was a big priority for me to try to get Wieskamp going,” Bohannon said.
“Luka (Garza) can’t score 40 every game and we can’t expect 90 points every game. (Wieskamp) needs to get going and CJ (Fredrick) needs to get going. That was my mindset, to get those guys going and trying to get them ready for these upcoming games (at Iowa State Thursday and Cincinnati in Chicago a week from Saturday).”
Garza started slowly on the heels of his 44-point game at Michigan, making just two of his first eight shots. By game’s end, though, the junior center had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Minnesota forward Daniel Oturu had 22 points, 12 rebounds, five blocked shots, and little help. The three Gopher starting guards were a combined 3-of-29 from the field.
Oturu had his own problems, though. He was called for traveling five times in the second half and had eight turnovers.
So the Hawkeyes made a 51-point improvement defensively from the Michigan to the Minnesota games. They’ll need something that more resembles the latter to win at Iowa State Thursday. Because Hilton Coliseum isn’t Carver.
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