#5 Iowa 86, #16 Minnesota 71: Good Things Come In Threes

By RossWB on January 10, 2021 at 6:10 pm
go hawks go
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

When last Iowa basketball faced off with the Gophers, just over two weeks ago on Christmas night, things went well for the Hawkeyes for around 39 minutes. And then all hell broke loss in the final minute of the game, resulting in a stunning collapse and an eventual overtime loss to the Gophers. On Sunday afternoon revenge was on the menu for Iowa as they welcomed Minnesota to Carver-Hawkeye Arena -- and despite a cold spell offensively near the end of the first half and a Gopher scoring burst in the second half, revenge was indeed served up. Behind a trio of terrific performances from Luka Garza, Joe Wieskamp, and Jordan Bohannon, Iowa stomped the Gophers 86-71, picking up their fourth straight win in Big Ten play since that loss on Christmas -- and their ninth-straight home win over a ranked opponent

How good were Garza, Wieskamp, and Bohannon in this game? Well... 

That's correct: they outscored Minnesota by themselves. As we noted when talking about Iowa's home winning streak against ranked teams, a Big Three has been a driving force behind those wins. It wasn't quite the same Big Three today as in most of those games -- but Bohannon provided to be a more than capable substitute for C.J. Fredrick in that role. Bohannon had one of his finest days in an Iowa uniform in this game: 19 points (on 5/8 shooting, 4/7 from deep), plus 7 rebounds, a career-high 14 assists (!) and zero turnovers. He was absolutely sensational today, drilling deep threes to key Iowa runs and dropping some absolutely divine dimes to set up easy scoring opportunities for his teammates (particularly Garza; a whopping 10 of Bohannon's 14 assists were to Garza). This was Bohannon at his absolute best and it was a thrill to watch. Just look at these assists: 

It also continued the very torrid run of form that he's been on over the last few weeks. 

Long may it continue, frankly. A Bohannon in form like this makes Iowa's offense even more of a nightmare to defend. And one additional note on that 14-assist, 0-turnover performance. You might recall that Connor McCaffery posted a 10-assist, 0-turnover performance in Iowa's win over Maryland on Thursday. How rare is it for teammates to post double digit assists with no turnovers in consecutive games? Pretty rare!

Luka Garza was, yet again, utterly dominant and virtually unstoppable. Liam Robbins, Minnesota's 7-foot impact transfer from Drake, has been drawing some buzz for his strong play of late; he even won the Big Ten Player of the Week award last week. How did Luka Garza respond to that provocation? Well... 

Garza absolutely dominated their matchup today. The final numbers: 

  • Garza: 33 points on 13/20 shooting (1/2 3FG), 6/8 FT, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block
  • Robbins: 10 points on 3/10 shooting (1/1 3FG), 3/6 FT, 6 rebounds, 1 assists, 2 blocks, 4 fouls

Garza absolutely wrecked shop in the paint, using his full arsenal of low post moves to slither around, through, and over Minnesota defenders on his way to the basket. As noted above, he was also a huge beneficiary of Bohannon's pinpoint passing in this game; 10 of his 13 made baskets were set up by Bohannon's passes, most of which set up Garza with an easy look. Garza also came through with clutch buckets for Iowa in this game. When Jamal Mashburn Jr. drained a corner three to cut Iowa's lead to 68-63 with 5:34 to play, the smallest Iowa's lead had been since the beginning of the second half, Iowa's response on offense was to feed their National Player of the Year contender the ball. And he delivered, draining a jumper and converting a layup on Iowa's next two possessions. He also made a pair of free throws with just under two minutes to play to extend Iowa's lead from seven points to nine. Missed free throws late in the game were a key problem for Iowa in their loss to Minnesota earlier this season, but they made their free throws this time, which led to a much happier ending to this game. 

Garza's 30-point scoring binges are one thing that truly sets him apart from his peers in Division I hoops this year: 

He's also entering hallowed territory in Iowa scoring history when it comes to 30-point scoring efforts: 

He's an absolute phenom and it is a total joy to watch him play game in and game out. 

Garza and Bohannon may have been the biggest stars for Iowa today, but they weren't the only stars, as Joe Wieskamp had an excellent game, too. Wieskamp finished with 20 points (on 7/9 shooting from the floor, 3/3 from long range), 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. He rebounded well from a shaky performance against Maryland (when he was benched for several minutes in the first half) and showed great energy and aggression throughout the game, taking the ball to the hoop with intent and shooting with confidence. His outside shooting was particularly useful and his three with 2:29 remaining was the dagger to seal the victory for Iowa. 

It was a pretty quiet game for any Iowa player not named Garza, Bohannon, or Wieskamp, though. The second unit keyed Iowa's victory over Maryland a few days ago, but they were unable to provide too many sparks in this game. Keegan Murray had no points and four rebounds, though he also had three fouls and three turnovers in his 11 minutes on the floor. Toussaint had two points and two assists in his seven minutes off the bench. In fact, Iowa's most effective reserves were probably Jack Nunge and Patrick McCaffery. Nunge didn't do much scoring (3 points on 1/4 shooting, though his one made basket came late in the game to help shore up Iowa's lead), but he was very active on the glass, hauling in a game-high 10 rebounds, including nine defensive boards to help keep Minnesota from getting second or third looks. Patrick was actually Iowa's leading scorer off the bench (with 4 points) and also chipped in 4 rebounds and generally seemed quite active in his 14 minutes of action. 

There will undoubtedly be games in the future when Iowa needs more from its second unit (and from starters like Fredrick and Connor McCaffery, who both had quiet outings today), but we've seen them deliver in the past. Their services were not required today, because the Garza-Bohannon-Wieskamp Show was in town and it was one hell of a display. 

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