Cyclones' Hilton Punch Doesn't Shake Hawkeyes

Iowa's Joe Wieskamp (10) gets a rebound between teammates Connor McCaffery (left) and Luka Garza in Thursday's win over Iowa State. (Reese Strickland/USA Today Sports)

John Bohnenkamp

AMES, Iowa — The hit was coming.

It always comes at Hilton Coliseum. You just expect it.

You try to survive it.

And so Iowa did.

And left with a win, leaving behind a losing streak that was snapped, and also a pair of shoes.

Iowa’s 84-68 victory over Iowa State on Thursday night broke an 8-game, 16-year road skid for the Hawkeyes in this in-state rivalry where everyone seems to want to get the last word.

That’s a long streak, sophomore guard Joe Wieskamp said.

And it’s gone.

“It’s huge,” Wieskamp said. “This is probably the one game on the schedule I look at the most.”

So let's talk about hits.

Luka Garza, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds and led the five Iowa starters who all scored in double figures, was bloody — he got accidentally popped in the mouth late in the game by Wieskamp and went to the bench holding a towel to his mouth. He was back one possession later.

Jordan Bohannon played what could have been his last game of the season — he can’t play again if he wants a medical redshirt season as he recovers from offseason hip surgery. When he left the Hilton court, he left behind his shoes with a message that said, “To ISU, thanks for the memz," adding a smiley face.

“There wasn’t a lot of room on the shoes,” said Bohannon, who also blew a kiss to the ISU student section after two free throws in the final seconds.

Ah, the last word.

But Iowa (8-3) was making statements all night. The Hawkeyes struck early, held off an ISU run at the start of the first half and near the end, and kept going.

Those Hilton eruptions, which have wilted other Iowa teams in the past, did nothing to shake these Hawkeyes.

“I thought we answered the runs,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We knew the runs were coming. They kept fighting — we knew they would. But we answered them all."

“We might get hit,” guard CJ Fredrick said. “But we’re going to hit right back.”

Iowa opened the game on an 18-4 run and led 37-16 with 3:01 left before the break after a Garza dunk. But the Cyclones (6-4) closed the first half on an 8-2 run, then opened the second with a 13-5 spurt.

Hilton was loud — Hilton always gets loud when the Cyclones are on these runs.

The Hawkeyes didn’t seem to care.

“We started missing (shots),” Garza said. “But we kept getting stops. They were going to keep coming at us, keep coming at us.”

“The critical thing, as you move through the season, is how you handle adversity through the course of the game,” McCaffery said. “We did that tonight.

“I think we stayed the course.”

Connor McCaffery hit a 3-pointer, then Wieskamp scored on a fast-break layup, and was fouled. His free throw gave Iowa a 50-37 lead.

Iowa State was within 54-43 when Iowa got three consecutive 3-pointers — two from Fredrick and one from Wieskamp — and the lead was 20 points. It wasn't long until it was 25.

There was one final rally — Iowa State got to within 12 twice in the last three minutes.

The Cyclones' last word was a whisper.

“We got embarrassed,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “We've got to live with it.”

“They wanted it more than us,” guard Tyrese Haliburton said. “They played harder than us.”

Every Hawkeye, it seemed, added something to this win. Wieskamp had 13 points, Bohannon and Connor McCaffery each scored 12, and Fredrick added 11.

The Hawkeyes are at the end of a stretch that looked like, when it started, would be one to define their season. Two neutral-court games in Las Vegas, road games at Syracuse and Michigan, a home game against Minnesota and then this one.

They went 4-2.

“We could have gone undefeated,” Wieskamp said.

“Obviously,” Bohannon said, “we’re playing good basketball.”