Rookies give Iowa Hawkeyes a big lift in blitzing of Swiss team

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

Iowa's freshmen led the way again Thursday as the Hawkeyes stormed past a group of Swiss All-Stars, 125-56, in an exhibition basketball game in Baden, Switzerland.

Luka Garza scored 24 points in only 11 minutes as Iowa never trailed to win its second of four exhibitions during a European tour. Connor McCaffery added 13 points. Jack Nunge struggled with his shooting, making just 2-of-11 field goals, but added seven rebounds, five assists and four steals in a team-high 25 minutes.

"I felt like I ran the floor well and got some easy buckets in transition in some quick post-ups. I was also hitting the glass really hard," said Garza, a 6-foot-11 center who had 17 points Tuesday in Iowa's win over a German team. "I’m learning more and more about my teammates with each game."

Five months after leading his Iowa City West team into the state tournament, Connor McCaffery is impressing against European pro players as a Hawkeye freshman. McCaffery had 13 points and five assists Thursday as Iowa made quick work of a Swiss team 125-56.

The Hawkeyes had a profound height advantage over the Swiss professional players and rode it to a 68-43 edge in rebounding. The Hawkeyes also forced 33 turnovers, turning them in to 37 points.

"I thought the way we came out (Thursday) was really good. Our defense was substantially better for the whole game," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "I thought we challenged them at the rim and had some great transition opportunities. In a game like this, you tend to look for yourself and we didn’t do that. We moved the ball and looked for each other and that’s what I am most proud of.”

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Four other Hawkeyes scored in double figures: Ryan Kriener (14), Christian Williams (12), Tyler Cook (10) and Isaiah Moss (10). 

The only area of struggle for Iowa was in 3-point shooting. The team converted only 11-of-38 attempts from the arc.

Sophomore point guard Jordan Bohannon sat out the game. Maishe Dailey and Cordell Pemsl didn't play because of injuries.

Iowa next heads to Italy to face off with a team of Milan All-Stars at 1 p.m. Saturday.


Nunge 2-11 2-6 6, Cook 4-8 2-2 10, Williams 4-8 4-5 12, Ellingson 3-8 1-2 8, Baer 2-5 0-0 6, Wagner 0-1 0-0 0, Moss 4-7 0-0 10, Rose 3-4 0-0 7, Ash 2-4 1-1 6, Kriener 6-12 2-2 14, Till 2-3 1-1 5, Uhl 1-7 2-2 4, McCaffery 4-12 2-3 13, Garza 8-12 7-7 24. Totals 45-102 24-31 125. 3-pointers made: Ellingson, Baer 2, Moss 2, Rose, Ash, McCaffery 3, Garza.