No. 10 Iowa wins 77-75 as free throws cost No. 14 Rutgers

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Iowa guard CJ Fredrick (5) goes to the basket against Rutgers guard Montez Mathis (10) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J.Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Luka Garza got his points for No. 10 Iowa, but otherwise, 14th-ranked Rutgers managed to stifle the Big Ten’s top offense.

The problem for the Scarlet Knights was on the other end of the floor — and it had nothing to do with the Hawkeyes’ defense, either.

Garza scored 15 of his 25 points in the second half and Iowa took advantage of Rutgers’ abysmal free-throw shooting for a 77-75 victory Saturday.

Rutgers (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) has struggled at the foul line this season, hitting just 62%. It went 4 of 12 against Iowa (9-2, 3-1 Big Ten), which was 18 of 23.

“Wins and losses happen, but what we took away from today is we got to hit foul shots,” Rutgers guard Ron Harper Jr. said. “Four of 12 from the foul line, that’s just unacceptable. We’re not going to win a lot of basketball games like that.”

Jacob Young had 17 points as Rutgers’ defense stifled the Big Ten’s top offense.

“Honestly, I just had to get the ball,” Garza said. “They were playing so aggressively defensively, our guards weren’t able to get the ball to me and credit them for their game plan.”

Iowa’s Connor McCaffery headed to the locker room three minutes into the game with an ankle injury and returned only to inbound the ball in the final seconds of the game. Head coach Fran McCaffery said his son was “day-to-day.”

From there, Rutgers stymied an offense averaging 94 points. Jordan Bohannon scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting while Keegan Murray had 14 points.

“He was fabulous on both ends,” McCaffery said of the freshman Murray.

The teams were tied at 35 at the break.

Montez Mathis had 13 points, five assists and five rebounds for Rutgers. Myles Johnson had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

After a 2-0 week, Iowa should move up in the rankings, while Rutgers should stay about where they are with a 1-1 week.

SECOND ALL-TIME

Garza surpassed Aaron White for second on Iowa’s career scoring chart, trailing only Roy Marble, while the win tied Fran McCaffery with Lute Olson for the second most Big Ten wins as an Iowa coach with 92.

BIG PICTURE

Iowa: How long McCaffery is out, and how Iowa’s offense responds, will be key. The Hawkeyes offense looked out of sync in his absence — the coach’s son averages 4.5 assists per game.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights have yet to have their full lineup for a game, but they continue to get healthy. Only Cliff Omoruyi (knee) remains out. Harper returned after sitting out last game with an ankle injury. Caleb McConnell played for the first time this season, returning from a back injury that was originally going to sideline him for the season.

UP NEXT

Iowa: At Maryland on Thursday.

Rutgers: At No. 17 Michigan State on Tuesday.

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