Joe Toussaint sparks rally and No. 18 Iowa upends Wisconsin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena
IOWA CITY, Ia. — The legend of Joe Toussaint got a big boost Monday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
A turbo-charged one.
In a game in which the cold-shooting Hawkeyes made only three 3-pointers, Toussaint, a freshman point guard, thrust himself into the lane to pick up three crucial traditional three-point plays.
The final one gave Iowa the lead for good in a testy 68-62 victory, its fifth in a row.
Toussaint, who was benched earlier in the second half, returned to ignite a late -2 run that turned the game around. Wisconsin, which had won eight of its past 10 meetings with Iowa faded late as the Hawkeyes retained their poise.
Luka Garza had 21 points and 18 rebounds to lead Iowa. Joe Wieskamp added 12 points and 10 rebounds. CJ Fredrick contributed 17 points.
But it was Toussaint who brought a spark to an Iowa team that desperately needed one. He finished with 11 points and four assists.
And the biggest basket of the game, with Iowa trailing 59-57 in the final minute. Toussaint drove into the lane, pivoted once and then went right at Wisconsin guard D'Mitrik Trice, putting in a six-foot jumper while drawing contact.
Toussaint, for the third time, made the ensuing free throw. After Wieskamp drove to the basket for a layup on the next possession, the Hawkeyes were in control.
The final seconds ticked by slowly after technical fouls were called on Wisconsin's Brad Davison and Garza.
It was a typically physical affair between these border rivals. But Iowa was the team that thrived on that this time, making 25 of 32 free throws to offset a horrid 3-for-20 shooting night from the 3-point arc.
The first half was a struggle for both offenses.
Wisconsin (12-9, 5-5 Big Ten Conference) was intent on collapsing its defense on Iowa star center Garza. The Badgers frustrated him into three early turnovers.
No. 18 Iowa (15-5, 6-3) often settled for 3-point attempts, but couldn’t connect, missing its first 10 from that distance. Finally, Fredrick nailed one with 43 seconds left in the half. Toussaint drove the length of the court on Iowa’s final possession for a layup and a free throw, a sign of things to come.
Iowa had 10 fast-break points to Wisconsin’s zero in the opening half.
The score was tied 30-30 at intermission. The Badgers made just 11 of 33 field goals but had only three turnovers.
The Badgers built a 57-45 lead with 7 minutes, 13 seconds left.
Then Toussaint and Iowa went to work. He made a three-point play to cut into the lead, Wieskamp got fouled and made a pair of free throws, and Fredrick canned the final 3-pointer of the game for a quick 8-0 spurt.
Toussaint muscled up again to put the exclamation mark on it.
Iowa next plays at Maryland on Thursday.
Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at email@example.com or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.
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