IOWA CITY, Iowa — The 25th-ranked University of Iowa men’s basketball team shot a season-best 60 percent from the field in a runaway 93-51 victory over Kennesaw State in its nonconference finale Sunday afternoon on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes (10-3) built a 49-30 lead by shooting 61.7 percent in the first half and the game turned into a rout after finishing with a 58.8 clip over the final 20 minutes.
Iowa made 39-of-65 field goals for the game and the Hawkeyes had a season-high 27 assists.
“I am proud of our team and our focus,” said junior Luka Garza. “After winter break, we all came back in shape and pushed each other before we started preparing for this game. You could tell everybody was focused on coming back, taking care of this (game) and getting back into Big Ten play.”
The Hawkeyes’ 1-2 punch at center accounted for 43 points on 18-of-21 shooting. Garza reached the 20-point mark for the eighth time this season, finishing with 23 points in 23 minutes. He made 9-of-11 field goals and had a team-high eight rebounds.
Senior Ryan Kriener scored a career-high 20 points, making all nine of his field goals, including an authoritative dunk off a Cordell Pemsl no-look assist to end his night. Kriener made the only 3-pointer and free throw he attempted and grabbed five rebounds in 17 minutes.
“Our team really got going early and it opened stuff for me,” said Kriener. “I had some easy ones early that got me going and once you see a few falling, it’s easy to get in a rhythm.”
“I was proud of him, (Kriener) did a tremendous job today,” said Garza. “That’s the type of player he is, that’s the type of player we see every day in practice. He’s a scorer, I was excited for him to get that career high and how efficient he was, that was tremendous.”
Add in sophomore Joe Wieskamp, who scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting in 22 minutes, the Hawkeyes front court was 26-of-32 with 61 points.
Freshman Joe Toussaint scored six points, had a game and career-high seven assists and five steals.
The Hawkeyes limited the Owls to 35.2 percent shooting and forced 24 turnovers — a season-high. Kennesaw State went 5-of-18 from 3-point range in the game.
Quoting Head Coach Fran McCaffery
“There are certain things you look at — 14 steals, that’s a number that jumps out at you, 27 assists. When you look at the paint, you want to throw it inside. Rarely do you have your three post guys shoot 22-of-26. That’s pretty impressive. Our guys recognized when Luka was hot early, recognized when Kriener got going, got the ball to Cordell. That’s what we do, we move the ball and share the ball.”
Sellout No. 1
The Hawkeyes had their first sellout of the season and the Hawkeyes were well aware.
“It was a great feeling for our guys when they come down the tunnel and you look up and see the place full,” said McCaffery. “It’s a credit to what they have accomplished to this point and our fans responded to them. They showed up in force and were into the game. It was loud in here and that’s the way we want it.”
- Iowa committed just seven turnovers — one shy of tying a season-low.
- Nine different Hawkeyes tallied an assist.
- The Hawkeyes turned Kennesaw State’s 24 turnovers into 34 points.
The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday, facing Penn State at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Game time is set for 1 p.m. (CT).