IOWA CITY — The chase to become Iowa’s all-time leading scorer got to Luka Garza only once during Sunday’s game against Penn State.
Garza looked at the scoreboard going into a media timeout in the second half and saw that he needed to make both of the free throws he was about to shoot to reach the record.
The first one was good. The second? An air ball.
“Obviously, I was a little nervous on that free throw,” Garza said, laughing.
Garza eventually got the points he needed, and the 11th-ranked Hawkeyes came away with the win. He finished with 23 points as Iowa rallied in the second half to beat the Nittany Lions, 74-68.
Garza now has 2,126 points, breaking the record of 2,116 set by Roy Marble from 1985-89. Garza scored 12 points in the first half to get within a point of Marble. After the free-throw mishap, he passed the mark with a layup off a pass from Jordan Bohannon at the 8:18 mark of the second half.
“Yeah, I’ve never air-balled a free throw in my life,” Garza said. “When the first one went in of the two of them, I was very surprised. Neither of them felt good. I was just thinking about (the record) too much. They called the timeout, I looked up at the scoreboard and knew where I was at. I had the whole timeout to think about it.”
From that point, though, Garza settled in. Garza, who came into the game as the nation’s leading scorer at 24.7 points per game, scored 10 consecutive points in Iowa’s 13-2 second-half run after the game was tied at 54.
“The whole first half, I was fine,” Garza said. “After (the free throw), I was able to calm down and play the rest of the game.”
Garza also had 11 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season.
“Every game, you become more and more impressed with how he goes about his business, and the example he sets for everybody in the locker room,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
It was the fourth consecutive win for Iowa (17-6, 11-5 Big Ten).
“I didn’t come here to win awards, to score points. That wasn’t my goal,” Garza said. “I came here to win games.”
“I don’t think (Garza) would have wanted to talk about the record if we had lost the game,” McCaffery said.