By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Sharing is caring for the University of Iowa men’s basketball team and Friday’s sharing led to the Hawkeyes tying the school assists record during their 98-75 victory over Northern Illinois on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes assisted on 34 of their 36 field goals and committed just eight turnovers to win its fifth straight and ninth game of the season. Iowa never trailed and led by as many as 32 with 11 1/2 minutes remaining in the second half.
“We talked coming into the game that we wanted to get good ball movement against this team,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “When you move the ball, that’s when you have (assist) numbers like that.
“I don’t think we had a basket in the second half that did not have an assist attached to it. I don’t think that’s ever happened in a game I have been involved with. I am proud of the guys continuing their unselfishness and having their heads up.”
Iowa jumped the Huskies from the tip, jumping out to a 13-0 start and leading 16-2 four minutes into the contest. Sophomore Tyler Cook was on fire early, scoring nine of the team’s first 13 points.
The Hawkeyes shot 66.7 percent in the first half and had a 56-32 lead at the break. Iowa finished with a 58.1 field goal percentage for the game and seven different Hawkeyes made at least one of the team’s 12 3-pointers.
Freshman Luka Garza paced a trio of Hawkeyes in double figures, scoring a career-high 25 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 16 minutes. Cook finished with 17 points and sophomore Isaiah Moss added 11 points and five assists.
Eugene German led the Huskies with 20 points, making 8-of-15 field goals.
ONE ASSIST, TWO ASSISTS, 34 ASSISTS
Eleven Hawkeyes had at least one assist during Iowa’s rout of Northern Illinois. Sophomore Jordan Bohannon had a team-best seven assists without a turnover. Isaiah Moss (five assists/one turnover), Ahmad Wagner (4/0), Maishe Dailey (4/0) and Cordell Pemsl (4/1) all had four or more assists. Sophomore Ryan Kriener had the record-tying assist, feeding Pemsl for Iowa’s final field goal of the victory.
WHAT A FIRST HALF
The Hawkeyes made just one of their final six field goal attempts in the first half and still shot 66.7 percent during their 56-point first half. Iowa made seven of its first eight field goals to start the game and five 3-pointers over the first 7 1/2 minutes to take control.
“It’s nice to get off to a good start when everyone is feeling it,” said McCaffery. “It’s nice to start off 16-2, I’d like to start every game 16-2 if we could.”
Nine different Hawkeyes scored with sophomore Tyler Cook and freshman Luka Garza combining for 23 points, making all seven of their field goal attempts. Iowa assisted on 18 of its 20 field goals and committed just three first-half turnovers.
Freshman Luka Garza had himself a career night in Iowa’s nonconference finale, finishing with a career-high 25 points… in just 16 minutes. The center went 8-of-8 from the field, made all three 3-point field goals, and went 6-of-8 from the free throw stripe. Garza also had seven rebounds and a career-high five blocks.
“His energy level was phenomenal,” said McCaffery. “You watch him run and attack the glass both ends on every possession. He was moving without the ball and posting hard. It was infectious with the rest of the team with what he was doing.”
- Iowa scored 21 points off 12 NIU turnovers.
- The Hawkeye reserves outscored their Huskie counterparts, 53-29.
- Records: Iowa 9-6; Northern Illinois 7-6
Iowa resumes Big Ten Conference play Tuesday, hosting Michigan at 6 p.m. (CT) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.