By JAMES ALLAN
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Junior Luka Garza scored 44 points — the third-most by a University of Iowa men’s basketball player all-time — but it was No. 4/5 Michigan’s balance that led the Wolverines to a Big Ten-opening 103-91 victory on Friday night at Crisler Center.
“I would most certainly have the W,” said Garza. “They tried to game plan to stay out on the shooters and let me go 1-on-1. If you go 1-on-1 with me I am going to try to get to the basket as much as I can and score.”
And score he did… on a bum wheel.
“I sprained my ankle against Syracuse in the second half,” said Garza. “I didn’t practice the last two days, so I didn’t know if I was playing coming in here, but it started to feel good and adrenaline kicked in. I feel good now, I am going to rest up for the next three games of this stretch.”
Garza was a one-man wrecking crew for the Hawkeyes, scoring 15 of Iowa’s first 17 points. He finished with 27 points in the first half, making 11-of-19 field goals and he went over the 1,000 point mark when he made two free throws at the 5:44 mark.
The Washington, D.C., native finished with 44 points, making 17-of-32 field goals and 10-of-13 free throws. He also had a team-high eight rebounds in 36 minutes.
“He is a guy that has a ton of different moves. We did a good job collectively of getting him the ball; we made a concerted effort to do so,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “He never stops moving, sprints hard, and posts hard, so he’s a handful for any defender that tries to guard him.
“He draws a lot of fouls — he drew 11 — which is also an incredible statistic when you’re trying to analyze your offense. I am proud of him.”
Everyone else for the Hawkeyes had 18 field goals; redshirt sophomore Connor McCaffery was the only other player in double figures with 12 points.
The Wolverines had a 50 point first half after shooting 54.8 percent, making 17-of-31 field goals (six 3-pointers), and going 10-for-10 from the free throw stripe. All nine Michigan players scored and the Wolverine bench had an 18-2 advantage.
Michigan closed the first half on a 7-0 run and held Iowa scoreless for the final 2:53 to take a 50-38 lead into the locker room.
Iowa closed to within single digits a handful of times in the second half, but every time Michigan had an answer. It was a seven-point game with 9:04 and 7:38 to play before Zavier Simpson fed Austin Davis for dunks on back-to-back possessions.
A Jordan Bohannon 3-pointer got Iowa to within nine with 3:37 left, but Simpson provided another answer, hitting a 3 to push the lead to 12.
Michigan had six players finish in double figures with Franz Wagner leading the way with 18 points. The Wolverines shot 55.2 percent (32-of-58), made 10 3s, and converted 29-of-34 free throw attempts en route to their most points against a Big Ten team since 1998.
QUOTING HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“We need CJ (Fredrick), Joe (Wieskamp) and JBO (Bohannon) to spread the offense around a little bit. We’re thrilled Luka got 44, but it falls on me, I have to get Joe and CJ more shots.”
- Garza became the 49th Hawkeye to score 1,000 points, reaching the 1,000-point threshold after netting a career-high 44 points at Michigan. Garza’s 44 points are the most in a single-game by an Iowa big man, third-most in a single-game in program history, and are the most scored by a Hawkeye in a single-game since guard John Johnson poured in a school-record 49 points against Northwestern on Feb. 24, 1970.
- Garza’s 44 points are the most scored by a visiting player in Crisler Center history, besting Ohio State’s Dennis Hopson’s 39 points on Jan. 8, 1987. The 44-point outburst is the second highest scoring output by any player in Crisler Center history (48 by Rudy Tomjanovich vs. Indiana on Jan. 7, 1969).
- Garza made 17 field goals, tying Bruce King (vs. Michigan on Jan. 31, 1976) for third-most in a single-game in Iowa history. Garza’s 32 attempts tie three others (Fred Brown, Murray Wier and Charles Darling) for fourth-most in Iowa history.
- Garza’s 27 first-half points are the most by a Hawkeye in a half since Jarrod Uthoff had 30 at Iowa State (Dec. 10, 2015).
The Hawkeyes return to action Monday, hosting Minnesota on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena beginning at 7 p.m. (CT).