That isn’t just because Gatens became the first Iowa basketball player with consecutive 30-point games since Haluska did it in 2007.
“We’re both from Iowa, we’re both shooting guards who played a similar spot,” Haluska said.
“The guy plays hard every night, and I think I tried to to do that.”
As a Hawkeye senior in ‘07, Haluska scored 33 points in an 81-75 Iowa win over Indiana, then followed it with 34 points in his team’s 91-78 victory at Minnesota. Until Haluska, no Hawkeye had done it since Roy Marble in 1989.
Eleven of Haluska’s 90 3-pointers that season came over those two games. He averaged 20.5 points that season.
Gatens was 7-of-10 in 3-point shooting in both of his last two games, home wins over Indiana and Wisconsin. He had 30 points against the Hoosiers last Sunday, 33 against the Badgers on Thursday night.
Sunday, the senior will try to help Iowa to a third-straight win, at Illinois.
“I think Matt’s feeling real confident right now,” Haluska said, “and his teammates have confidence in him. He’s playing extremely well, and I think the whole team is. It’s exciting to watch.
“It’s still a young team. This team is still growing, but you’re starting to see maturity from the younger guys.”
Haluska lives in Solon with his wife, 3-year-old daughter, and 4-month-old son. He works in medical sales for Stryker Orthopaedics. He has attended three Iowa games this season.
He was drafted by the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets after his senior season, was traded to the Houston Rockets that season, and released. He played professionally in Israel before giving up the game.
Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner, Haluska’s Iowa teammates, have also played overseas. Brunner is still playing, in Italy. Maybe Gatens will do likewise.“I think Matt could fit a lot of different teams,” Haluska said. “He’s versatile. And, he can do whatever he puts his mind to. He’s proved himself at a lot of different levels.”