Jan. 3, 2009
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Funny thing, this Big Ten Conference basketball. Youngsters sometimes shine, but games are usually won by upperclassmen.
Saturday afternoon in Carver-Hawkeye Arena is a good example. The University of Iowa men’s basketball team rode the sturdy shoulders of senior Cyrus Tate to a 65-60 victory over Indiana to move to 1-1 in Big Ten, a victory that also pushes Iowa to 11-4 overall.
Tate scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. He was almost perfect offensively, knocking down all six of his field goal attempts and 10 of 11 from the charity stripe. One of his bigger buckets was a jumper from the line that gave the Hawkeyes a 60-50 lead with just more than 4 minutes to play.
Need more evidence of experience being a difference-maker in Big Ten hoops?
Well, sophomore guard Jeff Peterson scored 16 points for the home team, two of which coming with 15.5 seconds to play to stretch Iowa’s lead to 64-60. Peterson also had five assists.
Sophomore Jake Kelly was the other Hawkeye to reach double-digits, contributing 10 points, three rebounds and a pair of steals before fouling out in the final minute.
Speaking of fouls, the guys in the stripes called 46, making it hard for either team to get into a rhythm.
Statistically, Iowa’s Jermain Davis – a junior college transfer – jumps off the page with eight defensive rebounds to go along with nine points in 37 minutes of action.
Iowa took a 47-34 lead when Davis knocked down a jumper with the shot clock expiring and 14:40 left to play. The game then turned sloppy and Indiana trimmed the Hawkeyes’ lead to 50-44 with a three-pointer, and 56-48 after four straight Hoosier free throws.
IU’s Tom Pritchard pulled the Hoosiers to within four at 60-56 with 1:53 to play, but Peterson responded with a pair of free throws.
“I’m impressed with what Tom (Creen) is doing at Indiana. They can give you problems and they did. Handling prosperity is something that shows maturity and we didn’t handle it very well at times tonight,” said UI Coach Todd Lickliter.
“We need to learn to adjust during the game depending on how it’s being called,” Lickliter added. “That’s something we’ll do better as we grow. I also don’t know that we fully understand possession basketball. Each possession is very, very important.”
Lickliter liked his team’s toughness — at times.
“There were times when we were very tough, physically and mentally. Then, there were times when we weren’t.”
Iowa used a 12-2 run sparked by six points from Tate and a three-point play by Gatens to build a 27-17 lead late in the first half. Peterson’s three-pointer with two ticks on the clock sent the home team into intermission with a 33-27 margin.
The Hawkeyes shot well from the the field – 10 of 18 – and the charity stripe – 9 of 11 – in the game’s first 20 minutes. Tate led all scorers with 11 points and all rebounders with five boards in the first 20 minutes of action.
Iowa returns to action Thursday night in Carver-Hawkeye when the Hawkeyes entertain nationally ranked Minnesota at 6 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN2.