By MATTHEW WEITZEL
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Top-ranked Gonzaga upended the third-ranked University of Iowa men’s basketball team, 99-88, on Saturday in a highly anticipated matchup between two of the country’s top teams at the Sanford Pentagon. Iowa (6-1) drops its first contest of the season, while the Zags (4-0) remain unbeaten.
Two of the country’s top players delivered in the spotlight as Iowa senior Luka Garza registered team bests in scoring (30) and rebounding (10), while Gonzaga freshman Jalen Suggs tallied 27 points, bolstered by 7-of-10 (.700) shooting from beyond the arc.
Garza and Wieskamp combined for 50 of Iowa’s 88 points. Wieskamp equaled a season high with 20 points, netting 15 in the second half. Garza eclipsed 30 points for the fourth time of seven games this season and ninth time in his career.
“(Luka) is a handful. He’s a wonderful player,” said Gonzaga head coach Mark Few. “He about fouled our whole team out. Iowa’s staff does a great job putting him positions that make it hard to double.”
Iowa, who trailed at halftime for the first time this season (51-37), mounted a late second-half comeback but ultimately fell short. Joe Toussaint provided a spark off the bench, scoring 12 of his season-high 14 points in the second stanza.
“(Gonzaga) challenges you in a lot of ways,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “They have a lot of weapons. They play fast and push the ball. They execute in their half court offense and they have depth.”
After allowing 10 triples in the first half, the Hawkeyes held the Zags to 3-of-10 (.300) from 3-point territory over the final 20 minutes.
Gonzaga was able to separate from the Hawkeyes in the first half by way of the long ball, making eight more 3-pointers than Iowa. The Zags shot a blistering 10-of-15 (.667), while Iowa was 2-of-10 (.200) from behind the 3-point arc in the first stanza. Gonzaga entered Saturday’s contest averaging five 3-pointers per game.
“I think overall (Gonzaga) did a good job defensively on us,” said Wieskamp. “They shot it really well from three and we needed to do a better job finding their shooters. The defensive end is where we need to improve. They were getting in transition too much.”
The Hawkeyes missed 12 free throws (14-of-26) and shot a season-low 4-of-22 (.182) from 3-point range. The Zags controlled the glass, pulling down 12 more rebounds than the Hawkeyes (49-37).
“We are a better rebounding team than what we showed tonight,” said Garza. “For us to win, we need to be tougher and get the 50-50 balls.”
Drew Timme (15), Corey Kispert (13), Andrew Newbhard (13), Joel Ayayi (11) joined Suggs in double figures for Gonzaga.
“This was a great game to play before conference play,” McCaffery said. “You have to learn from it. We made some mistakes. We did some good things. You have to look at where can we get better collectively and individually.”
The Hawkeyes will return home to host Purdue in Iowa’s conference opener on Tuesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.