Iowa All-American Luka Garza insists he isn’t a one-man band and the evidence clearly supports him.
Joe Wieskamp is also enjoying a strong start to the season and the duo looks to excel again when the No. 4 Hawkeyes face Minnesota in Big Ten play Friday night at Minneapolis.
Wieskamp has scored at least 16 points in five straight games and collected nine rebounds three times during the span. He has season averages of 16 points and 6.6 rebounds, figures that rank second on the squad behind Garza.
Wieskamp recorded 17 points and nine rebounds in Tuesday’s 70-55 win over Purdue. The contest was the Big Ten opener for the Hawkeyes (7-1, 1-0 Big Ten).
“When he plays that strong and that aggressive, no team can guard him,” Garza said of Wieskamp.
Wieskamp was more impressed with the team’s play against the Boilermakers than his personal performance. Iowa lost to No. 1 Gonzaga 99-88 three days earlier and badly needed to rebound from a setback in which it trailed by as many as 20.
“We wanted to send a message in our conference opener against a good Purdue team,” Wieskamp said. “Collectively, we were locked in and we need to continue to do that moving forward.”
Garza contributed 22 points and nine rebounds with the scoring output his second lowest of the campaign. He averages 28.4 points and 9.1 rebounds.
Garza knocked down 4 of 8 3-point attempts and is a scorching 17 of 29 (58.6 percent) from behind the arc.
The big man also moved into third place on Iowa’s all-time scoring list with 1,786 career points. Next for Garza to chase down is second-place Aaron White (1,859 from 2011-15).
Jordan Bohannon made three 3-pointers against Purdue to raise his career total to 300.
Minnesota (7-1, 0-1) is off to a solid start but was soundly whipped by Illinois 92-65 in its Big Ten opener on Dec. 15.
The Golden Gophers bounced back with a 90-82 win over Saint Louis on Sunday when Marcus Carr poured in 32 points for his second 30-point effort of the season.
Carr, who averages 23.9 points and six assists, said erasing the residue from the Illinois beat down was important to the Golden Gophers.
“We didn’t have the showing that we wanted against Illinois,” Carr said. “It was our first Big Ten game, first road game, but we hit the ground running (Sunday). We learned from our mistakes and see where we are at to get better.
“We had a good team in Saint Louis come to our house. We wanted to take care of business and I think that we did that.”
Perhaps more pleasing to Minnesota coach Richard Pitino was the way his team shared the ball. Four other players scored in double digits and the club totaled 16 assists on 23 field goals while also hitting 34 of 41 free-throw attempts.
“I thought that was the best ball movement of the year,” Pitino said. “We’re really good at getting to the foul line after eight games. When you have 34 points from the foul line, you’re normally going to win the game.”
Both Gach (averages of 13 points and six rebounds) and Liam Robbins (11.9 points, team-leading 6.8 rebounds) also score in double digits for the Golden Gophers.
Iowa has won the past two meetings after Minnesota prevailed in 12 of the previous 17.
–Field Level Media