Iowa City, Iowa — Joe Wieskamp averaged 30 points per game in his final two high school seasons. Getting to that number in a game in college was something the Iowa sophomore guard hadn’t done in his career.
Which is why teammate Luka Garza said he was pushing him to get there on Saturday.
Wieskamp did, scoring a career-high 30 points in the 17th-ranked Hawkeyes’ 96-72 win over Nebraska.
Garza added 22 to help the Hawkeyes (17-7, 8-5 Big Ten) bounce back from their worst loss of the season.
“My teammates, Luka and all of those guys, did a great job of finding me,” said Wieskamp, who was 10 of 15 from the field. “They just encouraged me to keep shooting.”
Wieskamp, whose previous career high was 26 in the 67-49 win over Maryland on Jan. 10, scored 21 against the Huskers in a 76-70 loss earlier this season, but it didn’t feel that way on a night he made just 1 of 10 3-point attempts.
“Everyone was focusing on how he didn’t make threes,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said, noting how Wieskamp attacked the basket in that game.
It was something Wieskamp did in the repeat matchup against the Huskers.
“He’s a guy that will just keep coming at you,” McCaffery said.
“Wieskamp was incredible,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We did not do a good job of closing out to him, he got around us, got confident.”
Garza and Wieskamp came into the game averaging a combined 38 points per game, the sixth-best scoring duo in NCAA Division I play. This was the ninth consecutive Big Ten game of 20 or more points for Garza, who leads the conference in scoring.
Iowa was coming off a 104-68 loss at Purdue on Wednesday, and guard CJ Fredrick said during Friday’s media availability that the Hawkeyes were “embarrassed” after that defeat.
They responded against the Huskers (7-16, 2-10).
“The last two days, we’ve been itching to get out on the court and take it out on someone else,” Fredrick said.
“We really wanted to come out and make a statement tonight,” Wieskamp said.
Iowa, which made just 4 of 33 3-point attempts in a 76-70 loss to the Huskers on Jan. 7, made three 3-pointers in the opening 4 1/2 minutes on the way to an early 21-5 lead. But the Hawkeyes missed their next 11 shots, going scoreless for almost eight minutes. The Huskers couldn’t capitalize, though, and Iowa led 41-30 at halftime after Fredrick hit an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Hawkeyes opened the second half with a 25-8 run to put the game away.
“We really hit them in the mouth with a big run, to kind of separate the game,” Wieskamp said. “I think that was huge for us.”
Jervay Green led Nebraska with 18 points. Cam Mack had 13 points, and Dachon Burke added 12.
More Big Ten
(At) No. 22 Penn State 83, Minnesota 77: Lamar Stevens scored a career-high 33 points and Izaiah Brockington added 10 points for the Nittany Lions (18-5, 8-4 Big Ten) who won their sixth straight and snapped a five-game losing streak to Minnesota.
Daniel Oturu had a career high 32 points and grabbed 16 rebounds while Mike Carr added 20 points for the Golden Gophers (12-11, 6-7 Big Ten) who lost their second straight.
The Nittany Lions never trailed and led by 19 with 15:53 to play before Carr found his groove.
The sophomore guard, who’d made just one basket to that point, took over with 18 of Minnesota’s next 22 points in just over five minutes. The surge pulled the Gophers within eight with 10:21 left.
They kept coming and cut it to 71-68 with 4:48 to play but couldn’t get any closer.
The Nittany Lions used an 11-4 run, scoring all their points inside the paint or from the foul line, to start the game.
Oturu scored the next six points to cut Penn State’s lead to 11-10 before the Nittany Lion offense got rolling again with back-to-back 3-pointers from Stevens and Myles Dread.
They sparked a 23-10 Penn State run into the half’s waning minutes where Brockington got loose on a fastbreak and finished with a left-handed dunk that put Penn State up by 14.
Oturu rolled in a layup before Stevens hit a pair of free throws to give Penn State a 36-22 lead at halftime.
Purdue 74, (at) Indiana 62: Eric Hunter Jr. scored 12 points, Aaron Wheeler added 11 and Wheeler and Isaiah Thompson didn’t miss a 3-pointer.
“Ïsaiah and Aaron between them are 5 for 5 (on 3s) so if you want to do something special and win at a place like Assembly Hall, you’ve got to have some guys step up and be special,” Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said. “We were tonight.”
They didn’t have a choice.
The raucous crowd inside Assembly Hall started rocking early, in anticipation of seeing Bob Knight back on his home court for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Knight was introduced during a halftime ceremony along with former players, including members of the Hoosiers’ 1980 Big Ten championship team.
But with Purdue’s stifling defense forcing 14 turnovers and its offense showing signs of finally getting in sync, the Boilermakers (14-10, 7-6 Big Ten) could be on the verge of turning things around just in time for a postseason run.
They’ve won three straight overall, six in a row against the Hoosiers and now have back-to-back road wins after losing their first five in conference play.
“We just felt like mixing things up here the past two or three games, still running set but mixing in more motion (offense) doesn’t get them sitting on every single thing. So hopefully we can catch them by surprise.”
Indiana (15-8, 5-7), in contrast, is struggling.
Despite getting 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists from Trayce Jackson-Davis, the Hoosiers lost their fourth straight and their second in a row at home. Justin Smith added 11 points and five rebounds for the Hoosiers, who trailed the entire second half.
Purdue needed just one good run – a 12-0 scoring spurt to close the first half – to swing the game. It gave the Boilermakers a 37-28 lead, which they extended to 54-38 with 12:39 left.
The Hoosiers responded with a 12-2 run, cutting the deficit to 56-50, but Purdue answered with seven straight points to put it away.
“Our turnovers in the first half really killed our momentum, and their run at the end of the half was really a deflating deal,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “But Purdue deserves credit, they executed well.”