May 27, 2009
ATHENS, Greece – – The University of Iowa rallied after a slow start, but came up just short in a 76-75 loss to the Greek Selection Team Wednesday in the second game of its summer tour. The Hawkeyes scored the final 10 points in the final two minutes.
The Hawkeyes started slow as the Greek squad shot well in the first quarter and used its size advantage inside to jump to a 15-3 advantage in the opening minutes. Iowa would trail 27-10 at the end of the first 10 minute period. From there, the Hawkeyes rallied. Iowa moved to within two, 35-33, midway through the second period before trailing 45-40 at halftime.
Greece led by as many as 11 points in the second half, but could never pull away. At the end, a final rally came up just short. Iowa trailed by 11 with 1:55 to play. Anthony Tucker hit a three-pointer and Aaron Fuller added a short jumper to cut the margin to six. John Lickliter forced a turnover and fed Matt Gatens on an inbounds play with eight seconds to play to cut the deficit to 76-72. Tucker stole another in-bounds pass and hit a deep three-pointer as time expired, leaving the Hawkeyes just one point short of a second straight win.
“We had a slow start, but made a lot of good adjustments after the first period,” said Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter. “Our defense rotated better the last three periods and I thought our guys adjusted to what they were doing and were able to take advantage of some things. For the second straight game, I thought Jarryd Cole and Aaron Fuller played well and played physical. This was a big, strong veteran team tonight and I thought our guys responded well to the style of play.”
Shooting proved to be the difference in the contest, as Greece shot 45.5% from the field, compared to 38.8% for Iowa. The Hawkeyes hit just 13-43 (30.2%) three-point attempts, while Greece made 11-24 (45.8%) three-pointers. Greece won the rebounding battle 40-37 and outscored Iowa from the free throw line, 15-10. Iowa was guilty of just nine turnovers.
Five Hawkeyes scored in double figures. Matt Gatens led the way with 18 points and Tucker scored 16. Fuller added 13, Devan Bawinkel scored 12 and Cole added 11. Cole led Iowa with 12 rebounds, Fuller collected nine and Tucker five. Gatens led the Hawkeyes with six assists, while Cole and Lickliter each collected three steals.
“We adjusted to their style of play after the first period and rallied from there,” said Tucker, who played just 14 games during his freshman season. “I just have to get use to the competition, which is going to be a process.”
Cole says the style of play in the two exhibition games has been fine with him. “The second game was much more physical,” said the Hawkeye junior. “I thought we fought back and stayed with them on the boards after the slow start. We didn’t shoot the ball well early, but we came back and played well for three quarters. This team was older; they found the open guys and moved the ball around really well.”
The Hawkeyes will play the third game of the tour Friday, also in Athens, after a Greek island tour Thursday.