Iowa City, Iowa – Iowa used just two players off its bench in Thursday’s 85-76 win over No. 25 Ohio State.
Those two players, coach Fran McCaffery said, made the difference in the game.
Luka Garza scored 24 points, and the 20th-ranked Hawkeyes got strong contributions from reserve guard Bakari Evelyn and forward Cordell Pemsl in securing their ninth win in the last 12 games.
Evelyn, a graduate transfer from Valparaiso, matched his season high with 15 points. Pemsl had nine points, one off his season high, and matched his season high with eight rebounds.
“Cordell and Bakari were phenomenal tonight,” McCaffery said. “No way we win without them.”
“The guys that haven’t really done that a whole lot stepped up and made shots for them,” said Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann.
The Hawkeyes, who didn’t have injured guard CJ Fredrick for the second consecutive game, got production from their starting lineup – Joe Wieskamp had 13 points and Ryan Kriener added 12 before fouling out.
But with a shortened rotation, they needed production from Evelyn and Pemsl. Four games ago, in a win over Illinois, Iowa had zero bench points.
“I think those guys were forced to step up and hit big shots,” Garza said. “It forced guys to be aggressive.”
“I think every game is a new game,” Evelyn said. “Every game has a new flow. I think I was in the flow of the game tonight.”
Pemsl said he knew he could do it.
“It’s not like I lost it,” said Pemsl, a fourth-year junior who was suspended for last week’s loss at Indiana after being arrested for driving with a revoked license. “It’s just confidence, it’s all mental.”
Garza, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, was dominant again.
It was his 12th consecutive game of 20 points or more in Big Ten play, the longest streak for an Iowa player in 49 seasons and the most by any conference player in the last 20 years.
“He’s a hard matchup,” Holtmann said. “He’s got the ability to really score and play inside.”
The Hawkeyes (19-8, 10-6 Big Ten) opened the game with a 27-8 run in the first 10 minutes. Ohio State (17-9, 7-8) closed to within 43-35 with 41 seconds left in the first half, and was within nine points on three occasions early in the second half before Iowa went on an 18-8 run to lead 69-50 with 6:43 to play.
“We could never climb back after the first five minutes,” Holtmann said.
Freshman E.J. Liddell led Ohio State with a season-high 17 points. Duane Washington Jr., had 15 points. C.J. Walker had 11. Kaleb Wesson had 10 points before fouling out.
(At) No. 2 Gonzaga 71, San Francisco 54: Killian Tillie scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Gonzaga rallied to beat San Francisco for its 19th consecutive victory.
Filip Petrusev scored 16 points and Ryan Woolridge 12 for Gonzaga (27-1, 13-0 West Coast), which trailed at halftime.
Gonzaga outscored the Dons 49-23 in the second half for the win.
Charles Minlend scored 22 points and Khalil Shabazz 13 for San Francisco (17-11, 6-7), which lost 83-79 at home to Gonzaga on Feb. 1. The Dons have lost 18 straight to Gonzaga, dating to their last win in 2012.
With the win, Gonzaga clinched at least a share of an eighth consecutive regular-season WCC title.
(At) Arizona State 77, No. 14 Oregon 72: Alonzo Verge Jr. scored 26 points, Rob Edwards added 24 and Arizona State won its sixth straight. The Sun Devils (18-8, 9-4 Pac-12) continued their unexpected charge up the conference standings following a mediocre January. Every team in the Pac-12 has lost at least four league games.
Oregon (20-7, 9-5) bumbled its way through a big chunk of the game, clanking errant 3-pointers and giving up turnovers. But the Ducks used an 11-0 run to it at 54 with 7:17 left.
Arizona State responded with the next six points, which included a 3-pointer from Edwards, and never trailed again.
Payton Pritchard had 18 points for Oregon but fouled out with about two minutes left, badly hurting the Ducks’ chances of a last-minute rally. Will Richardson also had 18 points and Chris Duarte added 10.
(At) No. 18 Colorado 70, Southern California 66: McKinley Wright IV had 15 points, including a floater in the lane in the final minutes, to help Colorado hold off Southern California.
Wright added six rebounds and seven assists, and Tyler Bey had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Colorado (21-6, 10-4 Pac-12 Conference). The Buffaloes lead the conference by a game after Oregon fell at Arizona State.
Colorado has never won the Pac-12 regular-season title but took the 2012 conference tournament in coach Tad Boyle’s second season.
Onyeka Okongwu had 21 points, Jonah Mathews added 17, and Nick Rakocevic had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Trojans. They lost for the fourth time in six games.
(At) No. 23 BYU 85, Santa Clara 75: T.J. Haws had 28 points and nine assists in BYU’s victory over Santa Clara.
Yoeli Childs added 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Jake Toolson had 20 points and 10 rebounds for BYU (22-7, 11-3 West Coast Conference). The Cougars won their seventh straight.
Josip Vrankic had 28 points and 11 rebounds for the Broncos (18-10, 5-8).
(At) No. 24 Arizona 89, Oregon State 63: Josh Green scored 18 points and Nico Mannion had 12 of his 16 in the second half to help Arizona beat Oregon State.
Max Hazzard scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half and Zeke Nnaji added 13 points and seven rebounds for Arizona (19-7, 9-4 Pac-12).
Jarod Lucas scored 18 points for Oregon State (15-11, 5-9).
Wayne State 76, (at) Northwood 66: Karim Murray scored 31, Brailen Neely 16 and Kylin Grant 11 as Wayne State (7-15, 4-14 GLIAC) won its third straight. Jack Ammerman scored 18 for Northwood (14-12, 9-9).
Michigan State 65, (at) Purdue 63: Nia Clouden's layup with two seconds left gave Michigan State (14-12, 7-9 Big Ten) the victory. Clouden and Taryn McCutcheon each scored 14 and Kayla Belles 13. Purdue is 17-11, 8-8.
(At) Northwood 58, Wayne State 49: Hunter Viitala and Makenzie Todd each scored 13 for Northwood (9-17, 7-11 GLIAC). Nastassja Chambers scored 19 for Wayne State (14-12, 8-10).