Hawkeyes improve to 2-0 with win over UTSA

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Nov. 17, 2008

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by Derek Sawvell

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team survived its first scare of the season inside Carver Hawkeye Arena on Monday night, holding off Texas-San Antonio, 73-67.

The Hawkeyes lost a double-digit halftime lead in the second half as the Roadrunners sped back into the game to take the lead by three, 57-54 — their first advantage since going ahead 8-7 in the opening minutes of the first half.

“If we focus on being down two and we’re really struggling, there’s no panic,” said Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter. “As a matter of fact there was a feeling of resolve and that’s what I like to hang my hat on.”

The Hakweys responded with an 8-0 run and good free throw shooting down the stretch to quickly regain the lead and the game to move to 2-0 on the season. Texas-San Antonio fell to 0-2.

“As we try to make progress, sometimes struggling can be a helpful thing,” said Lickliter.

Iowa was led by Cyrus Tate with 18 points, three blocks and two steals. Anthony Tucker added 15 points, while Matt Gatens and Jermain Davis also scored in double figures with 10 points each.

“Cyrus definitely had an advantage,” said Lickliter.

The Roadrunners were led by Omar Johnson and Travis Gabbidon who combined to score 29 of Texas-San Antonio’s 67 points.

Fuller scored Iowa’s first five points and added an assist to Tate to give Iowa an early 7-3 lead. After the Texas-San Antonio gained an 8-7 lead behind two three pointers by Morris Smith, Iowa responded with a 10-0 run fueled by Tucker scoring eight to help the Hawkeyes jump to a 17-8 lead.

Iowa would never relinquish the lead throughout the rest of the half but Texas-San Antonio did cut the lead to four, 25-21, with six minutes left in the half. After an Iowa timeout, the Hawkeyes used a 15-7 run to end the half with a double-digit lead, 40-28.

Leading the way for the Hawkeyes in the first half was Tate with 10 points and Tucker with eight. Also contributing for Iowa was Fuller with seven points and Jeff Peterson with five. The Hawkeyes shot 65 percent (15-23) for the half while holding the Roadrunners to 43.5 percent (10-23).

Texas-San Antonio started the second half defensively in a 2-2-1 press and stayed with it for the remainder of the game. The defensive intensity helped guide the Roadrunners on a 16-4 run to take a 57-54 lead with 7:48 remaining in the game.

“We haven’t spent a lot of time on that (the press),” said Lickliter. “They played it well. I’m impressed with their talent and the way they do things.”

The Hawkeyes answered with an 8-0 run of their own to immediately regain the lead and held it the rest of the game as they converted 20-22 free-throws, including Davis shooting a perfect 10-of-10 down the stretch

“There was a lot of poise there (regarding Davis),” said Lickliter. “That’s what you have to do down the stretch.”

Iowa continues its season Thursday night, Nov. 20 on the road against The Citadel at 6:05 p.m. (Iowa time).