Iowa beats Southern Utah 92-64 for 3rd straight win
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Freshman Luka Garza scored 17 points, Tyler Cook and Isaiah Moss each added 16, and Iowa beat Southern Utah 92-64 on Tuesday night for its third straight victory.
Jack Nunge’s steal and pass to Moss for a breakaway dunk gave Iowa a 17-5 lead and the Hawkeyes extended it to 51-31 at halftime behind 10 points from Cook. The Hawkeyes shot 53 percent in the half and outrebounded SUU 27-13.
It was Iowa’s most first-half points since 52 in the season opener against Chicago State. The Hawkeyes have scored at least 50 points in a half in their last three games.
”We’re much more connected as of late,” Cook said. ”Now the challenge is to stay connected, especially heading into conference play.”
Nicholas Baer grabbed 10 rebounds as Iowa (7-6), which has seven double-digit wins this season, had a season-high 38 defensive boards. Jordan Bohannon had seven assists for the fourth time this season.
”We know we’re a good offensive rebounding team, but we’ve been struggling with that lately,” Garza said. ”It felt good to attack the glass today.”
Cordell Pemsl’s baseline two-handed dunk, off a nice assist from Connor McCaffery, made it 71-44 midway through the second half.
Jadon Cohee and Brandon Better each scored 12 points for Southern Utah (6-5), which entered winning four of its last five. The Thunderbirds shot 39 percent and turned it over 12 times.
Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds had already secured a winning record heading into Big Sky Conference play, with their final non-conference matchup against the Hawkeyes. It was Southern Utah’s second trip into Big Ten territory this season after falling to then-No. 3 Michigan State 88-63 on Dec. 9.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes are 16-1 all-time against current members of the Big Sky after their first-ever meeting with Southern Utah. Iowa improved to 50-4 in nonconference home games since 2012.
Iowa reserve Ahmad Wagner rolled his right ankle on the baseline in the first half and Brady Ellingson stepped on a teammate’s foot in the lane. Neither played in the second half.
”They both turned their ankles stepping on guy’s foot,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. ”They are both identical injuries. I think Ahmad’s is worse, hopefully it will be a quick turnaround and not a two-week thing.”
Southern Utah hosts Montana State on Dec. 28.
Iowa faces Colorado at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Friday.
”We’re looking forward to the game on Friday,” Baer said. ”That will be a good test to see where we’re at as a team.”