Wieskamp Knows He Can Get Out Of Shooting Woes

Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp tries to split the defense of Michigan State guard Cassius Winston (5) and forward Aaron Henry (11) during the second half of Tuesday's game. (Mike Carter/USA Today Sports)

John Bohnenkamp

Joe Wieskamp’s best games this season have been at home.

His worst games have been on the road.

That’s not something that bothers the Iowa sophomore guard.

“I think most people around the country shoot better at home, if you look at the numbers,” Wieskamp said on Friday. “I don’t pay attention to that.”

Home or away, Wieskamp knows he’s struggling to make shots right now. Some of that is opposing defenses that have shifted in the absence of guard CJ Fredrick, but Wieskamp says he takes some of the blame as well.

Wieskamp is shooting 21-of-53 (39.6 percent) over the last five games, a little more than four percentage points off his season average. He’s also made just 4-of-19 three-pointers (21.1 percent) over the same stretch, well below his season percentage of 35.5 percent.

Wieskamp, who averages 14.5 points per game, has six single-digit scoring games this season, but five of those have been on the road, including Tuesday’s four-point night at Michigan State. He is averaging 16.6 points at home, 12.1 on the road and neutral courts.

There has been an added burden on Wieskamp the last three games with Fredrick out with an ankle injury. The two are 1-2 on the team in three-point shooting, and with Fredrick out that has taken away one more long-range shooter.

Fredrick is expected back for Saturday’s game against Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and that could help soften defenses that have keyed on Wieskamp and leading scorer Luka Garza.

But Wieskamp knows he has to take some pressure off himself.

“It’s something I’ve been working on, actually,” he said. “I tend to put a little bit more pressure on myself to go out there and perform, knowing that those expectations are on me. I think I’ve been really working on that, just zone out that pressure in my mind. Just go out there and play freely.”

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery isn’t concerned.

“He's getting good looks at it,” McCaffery said of Wieskamp’s shot selection. “He's been a little bit off. He's really working. I thought he worked without the ball extremely well (against Michigan State). He's trying to mix up his drives and his jump shots, his pull-ups.

“He'll get going again.”

That’s something Wieskamp has done all season.

He had seven points in a loss at Michigan, then came back with 23 points in a home game against Minnesota. He was 1-of-10 in three-pointers at Nebraska, then responded with 26 points in a home win over Maryland. He had eight points in a loss at Purdue, then scored a career-high 30 in a home win over Nebraska.

“I know I’m a good player,” Wieskamp said. “I know I can shoot it well. I just have to rely on that. Just shut my mind off out there, and go out and play.”