IOWA CITY — You know who enjoyed Iowa’s 104-68 men’s basketball loss at Purdue on Wednesday as little as the Hawkeyes did?
Nebraska Coach Fred Hoiberg. He could have used complacent, fat-and-happy Hawkeyes Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, not the ticked-off, something-to-prove group that mowed down his team 96-72.
“I didn’t like that,” Hoiberg said about Iowa’s most one-sided loss in the 10 seasons Fran McCaffery has been the Hawkeyes’ coach. “That wasn’t a good thing. I knew they’d come out with some fire.”
It was a five-alarm blaze for Nebraska in the game’s first 3:31 when Iowa jetted to a 15-2 lead. A 25-9 advantage was knocked down to 25-21 when the Hawkeyes were shut out for eight minutes, but Joe Wieskamp broke the drought by knifing to the basket for a score with 4:30 left in the half.
Of course he did, and the sophomore wing wasn’t done making it rain. He scored a career-high 30 points, 20 in the first 8:05 of the second half as Iowa built a 69-40 lead that grew to 36 points before receding with subs in the game.
No. 17 Iowa improved to 17-7 overall and 8-5 in the Big Ten. Nebraska is 17-6, 2-10.
Someone asked Hoiberg what it was like to coach a game in his home state for the first time since he was at Iowa State in 2015.
“It was really fun,” he said. “Great game.”
He was being facetious.
There will be better days for Nebrasketball under Hoiberg. If you’re ever going to whup his Huskers, this is the time. Saturday was that time for Iowa, quite the opposite of the performance it gave in its 76-70 loss in Lincoln on Jan. 7. Or that outlier of a beatdown at Purdue when Wieskamp had just eight points, his only Big Ten game without scoring double-digits.
This game was Total Joe. He scored seven unanswered points in 55 seconds early in the second half to rocket Iowa’s lead to 48-32. Four minutes later, he went off again, scoring nine points in 1:13.
“Wieskamp was incredible,” Hoiberg said.
In conference play, Iowa’s Luka Garza averages 26.1 points. Wieskamp is a strong second at 18.0.
“I think he needs to be talked about more for what he’s been able to do this year for us,” said Garza, who scored 22 Saturday. “Us as kind of a duo have been kind of lethal, especially offensively the way we’ve been able to score the ball.”
Wieskamp made back-to-back 3-pointers for his final six points, but got most of his points from cutting, driving and rebounding. He had a pair of dunks, scored on a lob, was 8-of-8 from the foul line, and was an all-around Big Red pain.
“I guess I kind of just got in a little rhythm,” Wieskamp said. “People were finding me at the right time.”
“When he gets on a roll like that ... get him the ball,” said Garza, “Because he’s just going to keep delivering. He’ll score in bunches.”
This was the Hawkeyes’ fifth game in 13 days. They won’t practice Sunday or Monday, and resume play Thursday at Indiana. None of the remaining seven games suggest a 96-72 Iowa win.
“I think we’re in a good place,” McCaffery said. “We’ve got smart guys. They know what the league is.
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“It’s not like we look at the rest of the schedule and say ‘Boy, that’s tougher than what we’ve already played.’”
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