Luka Garza’s dominance of college basketball got back on track Friday night after a brief hiatus as the Iowa center torched rival Iowa State for 34 points in just 17 minutes during the No. 3 Hawkeyes’ 105-77 win over the Cyclones. Garza poured in 25 of his points during a perfect 10-for-10 second half — all while playing just 10 minutes in the frame.
Though five games, the 6-foot-11 reigning Big Ten Player of the Year still has more points (152) than minutes played (130), which translates to an absurd 1.17 points per minute. His 34-point outburst on Friday was the highest scoring total for someone who played less than 20 minutes in a game over the last 25 seasons, according to ESPN.
But it was not a given that Garza was going to have another huge game. He was coming off a 6-for-20 effort from the field in Iowa’s win over North Carolina on Tuesday. Though he still finished that game with 16 points and 14 rebounds, Garza’s poor efficiency against the Tar Heels’ beefy front line was a stark departure from the 34-point average on 76% shooting he posted against three overmatched opponents to begin the season.
Early on against the Cyclones, it appeared as though Garza may struggle again in his second game this season against a power conference opponent. He picked up his second foul with 10:48 left in the first half, and did not return until the second half when he promptly picked up his third with 17:24 remaining.
At that point, Iowa led by 20 and Garza had just 13 points. It was unclear how much more he might play in what appeared to be evolving into a runaway victory, but Garza’s night had barely just begun. With Iowa State hanging around, he reentered with 12:42 remaining and promptly took over the game. Garza hit four straight 3-pointers and five total during a 21-point outburst spanning just seven minutes. Iowa’s lead grew from 13 to 25 during that stretch. In total, Garza finished with six 3-pointers, which was a new career-high.