By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Freshman Joe Wieskamp was perfect Sunday afternoon and the No. 23/24 University of Iowa men’s basketball team followed suit en route to its fifth straight victory.
The Hawkeyes made 15 3-point field goals and set a Carver-Hawkeye Arena record, making 68 percent of its field goals, to run away with a 95-71 victory over Illinois on on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa moves to 16-3 overall, 5-3 in Big Ten play, heading into Thursday’s home matchup against No. 6 Michigan State.
“That’s being taken out to the woodshed and whooped today,” said Illinois head coach Brad Underwood. “A lot of credit to Iowa, that’s a good basketball team and a team you wouldn’t want to play in the postseason with their inside-out mentality and their ability to score in transition.”
Wieskamp tied a career-high with 24 points after going 8-for-8 from the field, 6-for-6 from 3-point range, and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. He led a group of three Hawkeyes with 20 or more points and four players in double figures.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Wieskamp. “I have the confidence that every shot I take is going to go in. Luckily today, that’s what happened.
“I tried to come out and be efficient, and when that first shot went down, it gave me a lot of confidence. Guys were finding me for open shots and got me going early and it kept going throughout the game.”
Junior Isaiah Moss scored 21 points — 16 in the second half — on 7-of-12 shooting with a career-high five 3-point field goals, sophomore Luka Garza scored 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, and junior Jordan Bohannon added 10 points.
Iowa shot 68 percent from the floor, making 34-of-50 field goal attempts. The Hawkeyes were nearly perfect from 3-point range, making 10 of their first 12 and finishing 15-of-21 for the game.
“That was the first time I have been a part of a game like that,” said Moss. “It made it better being in Carver with the fans. They riled us up; that was a lot of fun.”
The Hawkeyes used a 12-0 surge early in the first half to take control, building an 18-6 lead. The lead was built with defense, as Iowa held the Illini scoreless over a 6:27 stretch, forcing 11 straight misses.
Iowa led 39-24 at the break after limiting the Illini to 28.6 percent shooting, including 5-of-18 from 3-point range. The Hawkeyes hit at a 68.4 percent clip (13-of-19) and made 83.3 percent (5-of-6) from 3-point distance.
“We were locked in and grinding hard,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery of Iowa’s first-half defense. “We put a lot of attention into stopping them in transition. They’re at their best in transition. Ayo (Dosunmu) out in the open floor, he’s a handful. We got back and walled off.”
The Hawkeyes turned the game into a rout in the early stages of the second half with a barrage of 3-pointers. Iowa made four 3-pointers — one from Moss, Bohannon, Wieskamp, and Moss — in a span of 83 seconds to build a 58-39 advantage.
Iowa hit 10 3-pointers over the final 20 minutes and led by as many as 27 (95-68) with 2:47 to play.
QUOTING HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“The only way to explain (the field goal percentage) is to empower your guys to shoot without hesitation. That’s one of the things I pride myself in. Isaiah, at the beginning of the second half, had an open 3. He drove it and missed the pull up.
“I said, ‘Just shoot the first one, keep firing.’ Same thing with Joe Wieskamp. If I ever tell them anything as it relates to their shooting, it’s ‘Shoot it again. Why didn’t you shoot that one?’ It’s never, ‘Don’t shoot that one.’ That gets them overthinking.”
STAT OF THE GAME
Iowa finished with 29 assists — one off a season-high — on its 34 field goals. Eight different Hawkeyes had at least one assists with Moss tying a career-high with six assists.
“Guys were finding people in the open areas, guys were sliding to the right spots, and people were back cutting,” said Wieskamp. “We knew they were going to be up in our space and really aggressive. We were able to adjust and find the open guy.”
- Iowa set a Carver-Hawkeye Arena record for field goal percentage making 68 percent of its attempts (34-of-50). The previous mark was 67.5 percent (27-of-40) versus Air Force on Dec. 28, 2004.
- The Hawkeyes have won five straight and 10 of their last 11 games, dating back to Dec. 6.
- Iowa has scored 94 points or more in the last three games versus Illinois (104 at Illinois on Jan. 11, 2018; 96 in New York on Feb. 28, 2018; 95 in Iowa City on Jan. 20, 2019).
- Isaiah Moss drained a career-high five 3-pointers, making his first five attempts.
- Junior Tyler Cook became the 26th player in program history to total 1,000 career points and 500 rebounds with his first-half rebounding total.
- Iowa improved to 11-1 in home games this season.
- Iowa made 12 of its first 14 3-point attempts. Isaiah Moss and Joe Wieskamp each made their first five attempts, while Jordan Bohannon made his first two attempts.
ON THE HORIZON
Iowa returns to action on Thursday, hosting No. 6 Michigan State at 6 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are available at for purchase at hawkeyesports.com/tickets.