IOWA CITY — Luka Garza began the season with a monster performance, Joe Wieskamp did what he does and Jordan Bohannon provided a spark off the bench.
But perhaps most encouraging was the sort of defense displayed by the Iowa basketball team Friday night.
The Hawkeyes held visiting Southern Illinois-Edwardsville to 41.9-percent shooting from the field and allowed the Cougars to shoot only four free throws all night in an 87-60 victory in the season opener at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa had only two games all of last season in which it held an opponent under 60 points, but SIU-E needed a hot streak after the outcome had been decided to get to that point.
The 6-foot-11 Garza, facing a team without a starter taller than 6-7, collected 20 points and 12 rebounds despite not playing in the final 10 minutes or so. He was 7 for 13 from the field and 6 for 10 at the foul line while notching the sixth double-double of his career.
Wieskamp added 16 points with Bohannon, Ryan Kriener and freshman Joe Toussaint chipping in nine apiece.
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Cameron Williams and Kenyon Duling led the Cougars (0-1) with 10 points each.
The Hawkeyes took the lead for good 2½ minutes into the contest didn’t shoot well early. That allowed the Cougars to cut the lead to 26-22 on a 3-point field goal by Duling with a little more than four minutes remaining in the half.
Bohannon, working his way back into shape following off-season hip surgery, quickly countered with a 3 of his own from the left corner, triggering a 12-4 run to finish the half. Bohannon sank a pair of free throws and assisted on a fast-break layup by CJ Fredrick and a 3 by Wieskamp (16 points, four rebounds) during the stretch.
That gave Iowa a 38-26 cushion at the half and it opened the second half with a 17-8 burst that pushed the lead beyond 20 points.
Iowa’s next game is Monday at home against DePaul in a 7 p.m. contest that is part of the Gavitt Games.