By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa sophomore Luka Garza made the first field goal of the game nearly three minutes into Saturday’s men’s basketball sell-out against Rutgers.
It was a 3-point field goal.
Meanwhile, Rutgers missed on its first two attempts from distance.
In an unfortunate twist for the No. 22/21 Hawkeyes, those shooting fortunes, especially from beyond the arc, changed. For the game, Rutgers made 11 3-point field goals — its most in 26 games — while Iowa shot 35.7 percent from the field during an 86-72 victory for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers evened its record at 14-14 overall, 7-11 in the Big Ten. Iowa is 21-8, 10-8.
“The guys did a good job preparing for this game,” Iowa assistant coach Andrew Francis said. “We got off to a little bit of a slow start; it didn’t seem like we were able to get into any kind of offensive rhythm. Our guys missed some shots we feel they are more than capable of making. Credit to Rutgers for doing a good job.”
In his final game on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa senior Nicholas Baer scored a team-high 17 points with six rebounds. He was 4-of-12 from 3-point range. Three other Hawkeyes scored in double figures: junior Tyler Cook made 6-of-9 field goals and finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, junior Jordan Bohannon added 15 points and two steals, and Garza scored 10 points.
Iowa got to the line 36 times, making 24 (66.7 percent), also below its season average of 75 percent.
“We’re still getting shots we know we’re capable of making,” Francis said.
Freshman Joe Wieskamp pulled down nine rebounds for the Hawkeyes.
Rutgers was led by freshman Ron Harper, Jr., with 27 points, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. Issa Thiam scored 13 points in 10 minutes for the Scarlet Knights. He was 3-of-3 from 3-point range in the first half.
QUOTING ASSISTANT COACH ANDREW FRANCIS
“We have to keep battling through, get these guys prepared, and not lose our confidence and who we are. These guys have worked hard to be in this position and we want to make sure we continue to forge forward because there is still a lot of season left.”
STATISTIC OF THE GAME
An obvious difference was Rutgers shooting 51 percent from the field for the game compared to Iowa shooting 36 percent. Specifically, was how the teams fared from beyond the arc. The Scarlet Knights entered the game averaging 6.2 3-point field goals per game; they made 11 of 23 on Saturday.
Baer, Iowa’s lone senior, played his final game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Heading into the final two regular-season games, Baer has career totals of 752 points, 553 rebounds, 127 steals, and 116 blocked shots.
“No one ever wants to go out that way (on Senior Day), but at the same time I couldn’t be more grateful, thankful to everybody who made it out today to support us and me,” Baer said. “It has been a great five years here and thankfully we have a lot of basketball left.”
ON THE HORIZON
The Hawkeyes conclude the regular season with road games at Wisconsin on Thursday and Nebraska (March 10). Wisconsin defeated Iowa, 72-66, on Nov. 30 and the Hawkeyes defeated Nebraska, 93-84, on Jan. 6.