Garza scores 35 to carry No. 3 Iowa past Western Illinois

Iowa All-American Luka Garza scored 30 of his 35 points in the first half to lead No. 3 Iowa to a 99-58 nonconference victory over Western Illinois on Thursday night at Iowa City.

Garza made 13 of 21 field-goal attempts and collected 10 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (3-0). The point total was the fourth best of his career.

It was the second straight game in which Garza scored at least 30 in the first half. He had 36 against Southern last Friday when he finished with 41, the second-highest output of his career.

Jack Nunge scored 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting and Joe Wieskamp added 11 for Iowa. Patrick McCaffery had 10 points for the Hawkeyes, who shot 47.1 percent from the field and 8 of 23 from 3-point range.

Tamell Pearson scored 12 points, Rod Johnson Jr. had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Will Carius added 10 points, three steals and three blocked shots for Western Illinois (0-1), which was playing its first game under new coach Rob Jeter.

The Leathernecks shot just 30 percent from the field and were 6 of 31 from behind the arc while dropping to 0-10 all-time against Iowa.

Garza was 11-of-17 shooting in the first half and recorded his 19th straight 20-point effort before the game was 14 minutes old.

He scored the first five points of the game to set the tone. He had 10 points — of Iowa’s first 13 — with 15:18 left in the half.

Garza made two free throws with 4:45 left to reach 25 and give the Hawkeyes a 36-15 lead. Iowa’s first-half lead later hit 30 on a three-point play by Joe Toussaint with 2:18 remaining before Western Illinois closed with a 9-1 run to cut the Hawkeyes’ lead to 48-26 at the break.

The Leathernecks pulled within 61-46 on a 3-pointer by Carius with 12:57 remaining. Garza responded with a three-point play to start a 22-2 surge that the Hawkeyes completed with 18 consecutive points to build an 83-48 advantage with 8:30 remaining.

The lead topped out at 41 points.