Nov. 15, 2009
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By Sean Neugent
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Texas-San Antonio went on a 17-3 run to open the second half and never looked back as the Roadrunners defeated the University of Iowa, 62-50, in the first game of the season inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena during the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic on Sunday.
Iowa outmuscled the Roadrunners on the boards, grabbing 14 offensively and 38 on the game to UTSA’s 27. Hawkeye forward Jarryd Cole pulled down a game-high 13 boards. Iowa struggled to get anything going offensively, shooting 17 of 50 (34 percent) from inside the arc, 5 of 27 (19 percent) from the perimeter and 11 of 16 (69 percent) from the charity stripe. Iowa forward Eric May led the Hawkeyes in points with 13, while Cully Payne added 12. May and Matt Gatens both paced Iowa with three assists each.
“I think everyone has off-nights here and there,” Payne said. “We took great shots and shots we usually knock down. Coach (Lickliter) was not real worried about it, so I think offensively we will make some shots and be alright.”
The Hawkeyes have a youthful team that UI head coach Todd Lickliter believes — despite the loss — is headed in the right direction.
“We defended about as well as I have had any team defend in their first game, especially for the amount of experience we have,” Lickliter said. “I was really pleased with the effort to come back. We played a team that was very well-coached and starts four seniors and a junior. They are veterans and a good team, and there is no question about that.”
The Hawkeyes (0-1 overall) started off harassing UTSA (1-0) on the boards collecting three in their first two possessions of the game — but they were not able to score.
Roadrunners forward Terry Fields hit a jumper for the first points of the game with 17:41 remaining before Iowa’s Aaron Fuller answered on the other end with a layup.
Anthony Tucker gave the Hawkeyes their first lead with 14:49 left in the first after he hit a mid-range jumper for a 4-2 advantage.
After a sluggish start from both teams, the scoring started to pick up as Iowa broke away for a 10-4 lead.
“We defended about as well as I have had any team defend in their first game, especially for the amount of experience we have. I was really pleased with the effort to come back. We played a team that was very well-coached and starts four seniors and a junior. They are veterans and a good team, and there is no question about that.”
UI head coach
The Roadrunners hit from behind the arc to cut Iowa’s lead to 13-10 before Fields hit a long jumper just short of the three point line to trail by one with 8:29 to play in the first.
Cole was fouled on a layup attempt and hit one of two free throws, but an offensive rebound was pushed out to Tucker, who hit a three-pointer for a four-point possession and gave the Hawkeyes a 17-12 lead. The Roadrunners countered with Melvin Johnson hitting back-to-back treys for an 18-17 advantage before Payne assisted an open Cole for a mid-range jumper and regained a one-point lead.
Johnson missed a three-pointer on the next possession, but came right back to nail another trey for a 21-19 lead. Johnson stole a misguided Gatens’ pass for a fast-break layup and was fouled by May and hit the free throw attempt for a three-point play. UTSA walked into the locker room leading, 28-26.
The Roadrunners ran the court quickly, going on a 17-3 run to open the second half and grabbed a 45-29 lead.
“We just struggled to get into a flow on offense,” May said. “I give them credit, they pressured us well and we just didn’t overcome that. Everyone has to be aware at all times and sometimes they were getting wide open layups and you can’t let them do that.”
Gatens hit from the left side of the arc to end the run with 13:50 remaining. The Roadrunners’ Devin Gibson responded for a three of his own and a 47-32 lead.
“We kind of settled down and started attacking and we got some pretty decent looks,” Lickliter said. “We started to get to the line. It took us a long time to get into a flow. I do think we shot it fairly quickly several times, I think there are shots we can make but when you aren’t, you’ve got your hands full. We shot 18 percent from the three-point line. If we do that, we are really going to have to guard, there is no question.”
With 12:30 to go, Gatens dished to an open Payne who drained one from the outside to move within 11 points.
Iowa started to hone down on the Roadrunners defensively and Gatens drilled a pass from the top of the arc to May down low for a layup and trim UTSA’s lead to eight, 47-39.
“They had a really good spurt and our guys battled back,” Lickliter said. “I really appreciate that, I appreciate the way we defended and it has to be (a game) where we learn (from) and grow.”
After a missed attempt from Iowa, May rebounded the ball and hit a finger roll to trail 54-49. The Roadrunners followed May’s layup with a short range jumper and a seven-point advantage.
UTSA continued to feel May’s presence as he drove the lane with less than three minutes remaining and was fouled, hitting one of two from the charity stripe to trail, 56-50.
With time dwindling down, the Hawkeyes were forced to foul and the Roadrunners capitalized on the free throws for the victory.
Iowa will remain at home Tuesday to face Duquesne inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena with an 8:05 p.m. tipoff.