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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Freshman Luka Garza had 23 points and 13 rebounds to help Iowa snap a four-game skid with a 91-60 win over Southern on Sunday.
Connor McCaffery made the first appearance of his career Sunday afternoon for the Hawkeyes (5-6) after missing the first 10 games with a sprained ankle followed by illness. The freshman played 17 minutes and had five points, four assists, and three rebounds in his debut.
Few expected McCaffery to play so many minutes in his first game, including the player himself. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said the slower pace of the game allowed for his son to see more minutes.
"He played the way I know he can play, the way he knows he can play. Physically, he's still a long way away. He's really gassed, he doesn't have his legs underneath him," Fran McCaffery said. "The pace of the game I think helped him. If the pacing was a little faster it would have been harder for him."
Aaron Ray had 12 points to lead Southern (2-8).
Iowa's offense started off slow and Southern led by 6 points with 8:28 left in the first half. From there on, it was all Iowa. The Hawkeyes went on a 24-8 run to end the first half and outscored the Jaguars 50-29 in the second.
Garza was charged with two fouls early in the game, but Fran McCaffery trusted the center to stay out of trouble for the rest of the half. He contributed 10 points to the Hawkeyes' 24-point run to close out the first.
"I felt glad he did, because I knew I wasn't going to foul again. I dealt with that a lot in high school, I was our only big so I was used to that," Garza said. "He went to me and I knew I couldn't stop, so I just played with energy and tried not to foul. I think I did a good job of keeping my hands straight up and not doing anything stupid."
Iowa: The Hawkeyes desperately needed a win after dropping four in a row, including two Big Ten matchups. Iowa should gain some momentum to close out its non-conference schedule over the next few weeks.
Southern: Allowing 91 points from Iowa is not great for the Jaguar defense, considering they held No. 1 Duke to just 79 points less than a month ago. Southern's 22 fouls did not help the case. If the team wants to stand a chance as it heads toward the conference season, the defense will need to improve.
Maishe Dailey came off Iowa's bench to play 20 minutes for the Hawkeyes. Though he did not see much playing time last year, Dailey has been key Iowa's bench success so far this season. He added nine points — all on 3-pointers — four rebounds and two assists.
Dailey is more than comfortable being a source of energy for the Hawkeyes.
"I'm not really doing anything out of the ordinary for anything I've ever done," Dailey said. "I'm just playing my game."
Iowa and Southern combined for 37 fouls . Southern shot just 14 percent from beyond the arc, making 3 of its 21 from 3-point range. . Iowa committed season-low seven turnovers. It was only the second time this season the Hawkeyes had less than 11 turnovers in a game.
The Hawkeyes head to Des Moines to take on Drake in the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday.
Southern will host Florida A&M on Thursday.