Gatens opens career with a 15-point, 5 assist effort

Nov. 14, 2008

IOWA CITY, Iowa — When Charleston Southern bolted to a surprising 7-0 lead over the University of Iowa on Friday night in men’s basketball, the Hawkeyes turned to freshman Matt Gatens to not only get them back in the game, but to give them some breathing room as well.

Gatens scored Iowa’s first official points of the season — a three-point field goal with 17:24 left in the first half — jump-starting the first 20 minutes of his collegiate career. The next two Hawkeye baskets were both by freshman Anthony Tucker and they were both assisted by Gatens. The second, a layup at the 15:51 mark, gave Iowa its first lead of the game at 8-7.

The Hawkeye advantage was extended to 10-7 following two made free throws by Gatens. He added an offensive rebound with just under 14 minutes remaining and five points during a span of 42 seconds gave Iowa a 15-9 advantage.

“That’s the kind of guy he is,” UI head coach Todd Lickliter said. “He loves a challenge. We enjoy the competitive spirit of this team and he’s one of those guys.”

Iowa led 29-25 at the break before wearing the Buccaneers down during a 68-48 season-opening victory inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. In 32 minutes, Gatens finished with a team-high 15 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the field (3 of 3 from three-point range). He was 4 of 4 from the free throw line and handed out a game-high five assists.

“I think that says he’s a very good basketball player,” Lickliter said. “

The point total by Gatens was the most for a Hawkeye freshman since Jeff Horner scored 15 points in 2002. Ricky Davis netted 18 points in his first game at Iowa in 1997.

“I should have played (Gatens) 40 minutes,” Lickliter joked. “He probably would have gotten three more (points).”

The Hawkeyes look to make it two in a row at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday, Nov. 17, against Texas-San Antonio. Tip-off against the Roadrunners is 7:05 p.m.