IOWA CITY, Iowa — The 19th-ranked University of Iowa men’s basketball team gutted out an 85-80 victory over No. 24/25 Rutgers on Wednesday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Scarlet Knights erased a nine-point deficit with 4:13 remaining and briefly led 77-76 following a five point spurt from Ron Harper, Jr. with 2:25 remaining. After Joe Toussaint missed two free throws, Iowa secured the offensive rebound and redshirt freshman CJ Fredrick drove in for a layup to give the Hawkeyes the 78-77 lead.
Rutgers’ Akwasi Yeboah misfired on a 3-pointer on the ensuing Rutgers possession before Wieskamp drained a dagger, connecting on 3-ball from the top of the key to put Iowa up 81-77 with 1:29 to play.
“We have to take care of the ball down the stretch, their pressure hurt us, but we responded well,” said Wieskamp. “They went on a run, but we responded right back. We fought the whole game. They’re an aggressive team and we knew that was the type of game it was going to be.”
Two Harper free throws closed the gap to 81-79 with 1:05 left and Rutgers had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead with 30 seconds to play. Jacob Young got to the basket, but his layup bounced around the rim and Iowa secured the board. Redshirt sophomore Connor McCaffery put the game away, making four free throws in the final 16 seconds to send Iowa to its 14th victory of the season.
“In those moments down the stretch, we have to come together, and that’s what we were able to do,” said junior Luka Garza.
The win is Iowa’s fourth straight, tying a season-long streak, and it is the third consecutive home victory over a ranked opponent. Iowa is 9-1 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season.
Garza posted his 11th double-double, finishing with 28 points and 13 rebounds. He was 11-of-17 from the field and he made 2-of-4 3-point field goals.
Wieskamp scored 18 points, Toussaint had 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, and senior Ryan Kriener added 11.
The Hawkeyes shot 52.7 percent from the field and made nine 3-pointers in the game. Iowa won the rebounding battle, 38-30, but Rutgers took advantage of 15 Iowa turnovers, turning them into 26 points.
Harper led all scorers in the game with 29 points, making 10-of-14 field goals, and grabbing nine rebounds.
Quoting Head Coach Fran McCaffery
“We certainly, after the two turnovers, had an opportunity to hang our heads, and we did not do that. We kept fighting. We executed on offense, to perfection, and then got the key stops. It’s one thing to come down and score and get a stop, score, get a stop, make your free throws, and that was really impressive.”
About That D
Rutgers entered the game allowing a Big Ten-best 58.7 points per game. The Scarlet Knights hadn’t surrendered more than 65 points in nine games.
Iowa scored 85 points — the most Rutgers has surrendered this season and the Hawkeyes shot 52.7 percent, becoming the first Rutgers opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor in 19 contests.
“It’s understanding that you have to be able to play through that physicality without losing your composure,” said McCaffery. “That’s what we did in order to get 85 points against this team — a very good defensive team, as impressive a team defensively as I’ve seen on film.”
- Iowa has won eight of 10 games, including four straight.
- Garza posted team bests in scoring (28) and rebounds (13). Garza totaled 20+ points/10 + rebounds for the eighth game, which ties for the most in the country.
- Joe Wieskamp drained his 100th 3-pointer of his career with 1:29 remaining in the second half to increase Iowa’s lead from one to four points.
- This was the only regular season meeting between Iowa and Rutgers.
- Ryan Kriener reached double figures for the third straight game (11).
Iowa returns to action Monday, hosting Wisconsin at 7:30 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.