Iowa topples Oakland, 66-57

Stats | Boxscore

Nov. 23, 2008

Box Score | Quotes

By Derek Sawvell

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team survived another pressing and zone-defending team inside Carver Hawkeye Arena on Sunday evening as it defeated Oakland, 66-57, in a Las Vegas Invitational opening-round game.

“Oakland is a good team and they do a lot of good things,” said Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter. “There were challenges. It’s like an exam we haven’t totally prepared for, but this has been a good challenge for us.”

“You have a great coach,” said Oakland head coach Greg Kampe, referring to the Hawkeye program. “You’re a long way away, but you have a hell of a freshman class. Your coach is a hell of a coach. You’re lucky you have him because he can coach.”

Iowa moves to 4-0 with the win, while Oakland falls to 1-3. Leading the way for the Hawkeyes was Anthony Tucker with 19 points, including 5-for-10 shooting from behind the three-point line. Tucker’s five three-pointers is a continuation of his success in the last game against The Citadel where he made seven three-pointers

“If I’m open, I feel like I can make the shot,” said Tucker.

Also contributing for the Hawkeyes was Cyrus Tate, netting a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Jeff Peterson added eight points and nine assists. Jake Kelly scored 16 points while dishing four assists.

“Cyrus was terrific,” said Lickliter. “He’s as good of a teammate as I’ve been around. Peterson is poised and comfortable with what we want. He’s productive.”

The Golden Grizzlies were led by the duo of Johnathon Jones and Erik Kangas. Jones scored 21 points while Kangas added 18.

Tucker began the first half from where he left off at The Citadel, hitting an early three-pointer to help Iowa gain a quick lead. Tucker would hit two more three-pointers during the half and finish with 11 points at the break.

After leading 17-11, the Hawkeyes went on a scoreless drought lasting seven minutes in which Oakland gained its first lead of the game, 18-17, with 6:10 remaining in the half. The Golden Grizzlies gave the Hawkeyes several different looks defensively as they ran a 2-2-1 press early and fell into a 1-3-1 zone. Oakland would continue the zone throughout the game.

“The zone a difficult situation,” said Lickliter. “We were going to have to reverse the ball and shoot jump shots. And we have guys who can make them.”

Tucker hit a three-pointer for the Hawkeyes to end the drought and give Iowa a 20-18 lead. Iowa would never relinquish the lead again in the half. Another Tucker basket from behind the arc and another from Kelly would help Iowa take a 30-24 lead into halftime.

Kelly added six points in the half while Tate added four points and six rebounds. Peterson added six assists and two steals in the backcourt.

Tate added two quick buckets at the start of the second half to help Iowa gain a nine point lead, 36-27. Jones began to heat up for Oakland and the Golden Grizzlies cut the lead to one, 37-36, after a three-pointer from Jones.

Iowa responded with three-pointers from Tucker and Kelly to increase the lead to nine once again, 52-43, with just 4:35 remaining in the game.

The Golden Grizzlies had one more run in store for the Hawkeyes as they got back-to-back three-pointers from Kangas and Drew Maynard to help cut Iowa’s lead to 53-51 with 2:54 remaining.

Iowa responded again with a 9-0 run, sparked by a Tucker three-pointer to help put the game away 66-57.

“I’m very disappointed in how the game ended,” said Kampe. “The lead went from one to nine so fast that there was nothing we could do. We’re trying to find ways to get baskets in clutch situations.”

“We did a nice job finishing plays,” said Lickliter. “We have to find that balance of poise and aggression.”