Nov. 9, 2008
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Even without head coach Todd Lickliter on the bench, the University of Iowa men’s basketball team played the Lickliter way during a 59-36 exhibition win over Wayne State (Mich.) this afternoon inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
A bout with stomach flu kept Lickliter at his Iowa City home during the game, while assistant Chad Walthall assumed the top game day duties. Meanwhile the Hawkeyes played through a slow start and limited the Warriors to 31.9 percent shooting from the field (15 of 47) and outscored Wayne State 31-16 over the final 20 minutes.
“Iowa is a very physical team and they really hurt us with ball screens,” Wayne State coach David Greer said. “Their physicality took its toll on us.”
“Defensively I thought it was a great team effort,” Walthall said. “Offensively I thought we played with great poise and executed fairly well. In a nutshell, we played the way Coach Lick would want us to play and when our leader is gone, we play the system and we play the right way.”
With sophomore Jake Kelly sitting out with a broken middle finger on his right (shooting) hand, Iowa used a starting lineup of senior Cyrus Tate, sophomore Jeff Peterson and freshmen Aaron Fuller, Matt Gatens and Anthony Tucker. Tucker logged the most minutes and turned in a sensation debut. He netted a game-high 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting from the field (5 of 10 from three-point range) with four assists in 31 minutes.
“Tucker is a terrific shooter…a big-game shooter,” Walthall said. “I thought our guys did a great job of driving and kicking. His teammates got in the paint and made great reads that allowed him to get some open looks and also some set plays where guys did a good job screening for him to get some good looks.”
Gatens was also in double figures with 11 points with two assists, two steals and a blocked shot and Fuller scored eight points with four rebounds. Ten of the 12 Hawkeyes that play saw at least 11 minutes of action.
Wayne State led for the first five minutes with its largest margin 10-2 after a layup by Nick Waller at the 16:03 mark. The Hawkeyes went on a 26-10 run the rest of the half to lead 28-20 at the break. They opened the second half with an 11-3 run.
“It was Iowa being patient with its offense and us mentally breaking,” Greer said.
Iowa returns to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 14, for the regular-season opener against Charleston Southern. Tip-off is 7:05 p.m.