Hawks look to rebound vs. Maryland
IOWA CITY — The Iowa men’s basketball team will look for a little Carver-Hawkeye Arena magic here Friday night.
Coming off back-to-back road losses, the Hawkeyes (10-5 overall, 1-2 in Big Ten) welcome No. 12 Maryland (13-2, 3-1) to town. Tip is set for 6 p.m. and the game will air live on FS1.
Dating back to late November, Iowa has played eight of 10 games away from home, traveling over 8,500 miles. Now, they get to play four of five on their home court.
“We haven’t been (at home) much,” Hawkeye head coach Fran McCaffery said. “Our fan base, when we have been here, has been tremendous, and we need that, especially when you’re playing a ranked team like Maryland. It’s been a good game when we’ve played them, whether it’s been here or there. They’ve been good games.
“We’re looking forward to being back here.”
A key matchup will see Luka Garza and Jalen Smith as the two big men have a combined 17 double-doubles. Garza, Iowa’s Wooden Award candidate, has nine while also ranking eighth in the nation in scoring (22.1 points) and 14th in rebounding (10.7).
Garza is the only player in the nation averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds a night. He leads the league in scoring and is second in rebounds.
Smith has eight double-doubles and is averaging 9.7 boards per game.
McCaffery knows that teams will focus on taking Garza away.
“You have to move the ball, screen and cut,” he said. “You have to go in and out. He has to keep working. We have to keep recognizing when he is open he’s got to get it. We can’t stop going to him because they’re doubling him, but we’ve seen it all already, whether it’s just sitting on top of him or doubling on the catch, doubling on the bounce, doubling from different locations.
“There’s nothing he’s not used to, and if there’s two on one, then you’ve got an advantage somewhere else.”
Maryland is coming off a 67-55 victory over Ohio State to go along with wins over Indiana and Bryant since a 52-48 setback to Seton Hall.
Iowa heads to Northwestern on Tuesday before three consecutive home games vs. Michigan, Rutgers and Wisconsin.