LINCOLN, Neb. — Deep doo doo.
The Iowa men’s basketball team took a lot of shots from deep Tuesday night in Pinnacle Bank Arena. It made precious few, and was upset by Nebraska, 76-70.
Iowa made just 4 of 33 3-pointers, the main reason it dropped to 1-3 in the Big Ten, 10-5 overall. The Hawkeyes certainly didn’t help themselves with five turnovers in the last four minutes.
Nebraska, which had lost here to UC Riverside, Southern Utah and North Dakota, is 2-2 and 7-8.
First-year Huskers Coach Fred Hoiberg had a defensive strategy for this game: Make Iowa beat his team from the perimeter. It was tactical brilliance. The Huskers double-teamed and occasionally triple-teamed Iowa center Luka Garza, the Big Ten’s leading-scorer.
So the Hawkeyes took what was given, which was 3-point tries. They took and took them. Nineteen in the first half, in fact. They made only two of those, both by Connor McCaffery.
Iowa had made 41.8 percent of its 3s (48-of-115) over the previous five games.
The first half ended with the Huskers ahead 38-31. Garza, who averaged 22.5 points entering the game, didn’t score until 7:41 remained in the half, but did lead his team in the first 20 minutes with nine points.
Iowa clawed back in the second half, taking a 51-50 lead with 12:40 left on a — wait for it — 3-pointer. It was the only one Joe Wieskamp made in 10 attempts.
Nebraska regained the lead 35 seconds later and kept it until a Wieskamp basket made it 59-59 with 5:20 left. A Thorir Thorbjarnarson 3-pointer broke the tie, and the Huskers led the rest of the way.
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The story of the game was sort of told in Iowa’s first possession. Wieskamp missed a 3, Garza rebounded, and Wieskamp missed another 3. He was 0-for-6 from long range in the half. He did, however, go to work in the paint in the second half and finished with a game-high 21 points. Garza had 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, and guard Joe Toussaint had 14 points.
Iowa fell behind 7-0 in the first three minutes, but knotted the game at 7 and again at 9. Nebraska then peeled off eight straight points and led by as much as 12 on their way to their seven-point halftime advantage.
Senior guard Haanif Cheatham, a graduate transfer from Florida Gulf Coast by way of Marquette, had 13 first-half points. He made all three of his 3-pointers in the half.
The absence of redshirt freshman shooting guard CJ Fredrick clearly didn’t help the Hawkeyes. The team said Fredrick has a stress reaction in his left foot. He was with the team Tuesday, but the injured foot was in a walking cast.
Fredrick has started 13 games this season and is third on the team in scoring with 10.3 points per game. He has made 54 percent of his field goal tries, and leads the team in 3-point percentage at .500 (23-of-46). He also averages 3.0 assists.
A team spokesman said Fredrick was “day to day.” Iowa’s next game is at home Friday at 6 p.m. against No. 12 Maryland (13-2, 3-1), which defeated No. 11 Ohio State Tuesday at home, 67-55.
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