IOWA CITY — Iowa’s free throw woes continued Sunday, as the Hawkeyes went just 17-of-33 behind the line against Alabama State. That didn’t matter too much, though, as the Hawkeyes put on a show in their 92-58 rout of the Hornets.
Newcomer Luke Garza led Iowa’s charge, scoring 11 points to go with 13 rebounds. Though the freshman shot just 2-of-8 from the field, he added seven points from the free-throw line on 11 attempts.
Garza’s 13 boards were the most for any player in the game, and five of them came offensively — also the most for either team. That number is something he prides himself on.
“I’ve just been doing that since I was a little kid. It’s one of the things I pride myself on doing, going to the offensive glass,” Garza said. “It’s all about effort, especially on the boards. I’ve been taught that my whole life, by every single coach and all my family, and I just kind of am where the ball is.”
The Hawkeyes (2-0) found plenty of use out of their bench, as 10 players got at least 10 minutes of playing time. Few members of the team played more than 20 minutes — Cordell Pemsl saw the most time, getting 24 minutes on the floor while putting up 15 points and grabbing five rebounds. Thirteen Hawkeyes got out on the floor, including rarely-used Charlie Rose and Riley Till.
Alabama State’s Tobi Ewuosho and Branden Johnson struggled to keep their team in the game, notching 13 points apiece. Reginald Gee added 15 more for the Hornets (0-2).
Iowa freshman Connor McCaffery missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle, but he is expected to make his debut Thursday against Grambling State.
Illini hold on for victory
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Leron Black scored a career-high 23 points and snatched eight rebounds Sunday, helping Illinois avoid an early season upset to UT Martin for a 77-74 victory.
Down by three with under a minute to go, the Skyhawks had two chances to tie the game but ultimately came up short.
“A lot of credit to Tennessee-Martin,” Coach Brad Underwood said. “They made a nice change at half time.”
The Illini led by as much as 19, but the Skyhawks — led by Delfincko Bogan’s 23 points and four rebounds — wouldn’t go away easily.
The Illini started off much slower than in their season opener, missing seven of their first 10 shots. But Black found a rhythm early.
He nailed the first basket of the game on a turnaround jumper from the free-throw line and finished the first half with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
“(I’m) just trusting the system,” Black said. “Trying to be in the right spots.”
Freshman Mark Smith was Illinois’ second leading scorer with 13 points.