The Takeaways: So Much Garza, But What Comes Next?
It was Luka Garza's show again.
But Iowa's 89-77 loss at Indiana on Thursday night may have a pain that lingers.
Guard CJ Fredrick's ankle injury could be a serious issue for the Hawkeyes if his absence is long.
Garza was dominating, making another statement to be Big Ten player of the year, and maybe national player of the year. He finished with 38 points in 39 minutes, making 14-of-22 shots.
It was Garza's 10th consecutive game of 20 points or more in Big Ten play. It was his second highest point total of the season.
But he didn't get much help, and that got worse when Fredrick was hurt.
Iowa's depth was already thin — forward Cordell Pemsl was suspended for the game — when Fredrick went down late in the first half. That left the Hawkeyes with just seven scholarship players available for the rest of the game.
Fredrick, the team's leader in 3-point percentage, gives Iowa that third scorer to go with Garza and Joe Wieskamp. And when he went out, that gave Indiana's defense one less option to worry about.
Iowa was 4-of-14 in 3-pointers, and Garza had three of those.
The Hoosiers had already planned on focusing their defense on Wieskamp — he would finish with 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting, and he made just one 3-pointer. Indiana coach Archie Miller said after the game that it was going to be hard to slow Garza, so the Hoosiers were going after Wieskamp.
With Fredrick out, that limited Iowa's scoring options even more.
No other Hawkeye scored in double figures — guard Bakari Evelyn finished with nine.
Iowa's depth was so tested, walk-on Austin Ash got five minutes of playing time. The Hawkeyes had just 16 bench points — Indiana had 45.
The Hawkeyes shot 50 percent from the field, but they allowed 11 3-pointers, more than double what the Hoosiers had been averaging this season.
Such defensive woes have hurt Iowa on the road this season, and with two of their next three games at Minnesota and Michigan State, the Hawkeyes will have to get better at that.
But Fredrick's injury is the biggest concern right now.
If there is one good thing, it is the schedule is in Iowa's favor. The Hawkeyes will play just three games in the next 12 days, so there is time for Fredrick to heal.
They can't afford to be without him for too long.