By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A 51-point first half propelled the University of Iowa men’s basketball team to its third straight victory — a 92-64 win over Southern Utah on Tuesday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes improve to 7-6 overall, moving above .500 for the first time since early December.
“We jumped them, 13-3,” said junior Nicholas Baer, who had a team-high 10 rebounds. “When we do that at the start of the game it gives us a lot of momentum going forward.”
The Thunderbirds cut Iowa’s advantage to seven points three times in the middle of the first half before the Hawkeyes essentially closed the door. Iowa led 40-29 with 2:36 left in the first half before scoring 11 of the final 13 points to take a 20-point lead into the locker room.
Iowa had three players land in double figures with freshman Luka Garza leading the way with 17 points and five rebounds. He made 5-of-9 field goals and 7-of-8 free throws. Sophomore Tyler Cook scored 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, while sophomore Isaiah Moss scored 16 with three 3-pointers.
Baer’s 10 rebounds helped Iowa dominate on the glass, 48-29, while sophomore Jordan Bohannon had seven of Iowa’s 25 assists.
Iowa shot better than 50 percent from the field for a second straight game, connecting on 35-of-67 attempts for a 52.2 field goal percentage.
Southern Utah shot 39.3 percent from the field, which included eight 3-pointers. Both teams committed 12 turnovers.
Jadon Cohee and Brandon Better led the Thunderbirds with 12 points apiece.
HALF A HUNDO PLUS ONE
The Hawkeyes had 10 players score and they shot 53.1 percent in a 51-point first half. It was almost a 54-point half when Jordan Bohannon’s half court buzzer beater caromed off the rim. Iowa settled for a 51-31 lead with Cook leading the way with 10 points. The 51-point half was Iowa’s largest output in a half since the fourth game of the season against Louisiana in the Cayman Islands.
Iowa has scored at least 50 points in a half in each of its last three games.
Juniors Brady Ellingson and Ahmad Wagner played a collective four minutes against the Thunderbirds after both suffering first-half ankle injuries.
“They both turned their ankles stepping on guy’s foot,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “They are both identical injuries. I think Ahmad’s is worse, hopefully it will be a quick turnaround and not a two week thing.”
- The Hawkeyes were plus-19 on the glass in the victory over Southern Utah. Iowa has won the rebounding battle in four straight games.
- Iowa doubled up the Thunderbirds in the interior, out-scoring Southern Utah, 52-24, in the paint.
- Garza has scored in double figures in three straight games, averaging 17.7 points during Iowa’s three-game winning streak.
- Records: Iowa 7-6, Southern Utah, 6-5
Iowa returns to action Friday, facing Colorado at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at 8 p.m. (CT).