Luka Garza is a front-runner for National Player of the Year and he was every bit that good as he carried the Iowa Hawkeyes to a demonstrative victory over a young Purdue Boilermaker squad, 70-55.
The Boilers held the high powered Iowa offense well below their season average, but the Boilers could never get their own offense going.
Trevion Williams led the way for Coach Painter with 14 points, but it took the big man 14 shots in a matchup of the best two big men in the Big Ten. Garza definitely took this round, extending his range, and scoring a game-high 22 points. Garza’s ability to pull out Purdue’s big men was crucial. He hit 4 of 8 threes and that was the final straw for a team that had a whole bunch of hay on the court.
Iowa knocked down 12 three-pointers as a team, taking 34 of them, and were rewarded with 14 free throws while the Boilers made it to the line for just 3 attempts.
The Boilers continue to struggle with their shooting on the road and their inside presence couldn’t make up for it.
It was not a Zach Edey game. The true freshman struggled to stay out of foul trouble and only had 3 points in just 11 minutes of action.
Brandon Newman was the only other Boilermaker in double-digits. He knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 11 points, but his defense struggled on the perimeter to contain one of the nation’s best offenses.
Sasha Stefanovic had the ball on a fast break midway through the second half with a chance to cut the Iowa lead to two-possessions, but the junior attempted a behind the back pass with his off hand that fired straight back into the only Iowa defender between him and his two trailing teammates. The turnover led to a fast break basket at the other end for the Hawkeyes and stymied another chance at a run for Painter’s young squad.
Purdue’s 14 turnovers led to 20 Iowa points, a growing trend on the season.
Purdue was the only team to win at Iowa in the Big Ten last year.
The Boilermakers will return home to Mackey Arena where they will host a Christmas day game against Maryland.