Nov. 24, 2009
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By Brandon Swedberg
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 14-point halftime deficit was too muchto overcome, as the University of Iowa men’s basketball team fell to Wichita State, 74-57, Tuesday during the consolation game of the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in the Sprint Center.
Iowa started fast, going 5 of 7 from the field and grabbing a five-point lead, 12-7. After that, few things went the Hawkeye’s way.
The Shockers made 17 of 28 field goals in the first half and maintained the lead throughout most of the first half. The Hawkeyes cut the advantage to 33-26 with 4:52 left in the first half.
“We cut it to seven,” UI head coach Todd Lickliter said. “We just couldn’t come up with the one play to cut it to a one-possession game which would give us some momentum. We’re a young team, early in the season, and we are just going to have to fight through it”
Iowa drops to 1-4 overall to begin the season, but the freshmen for the Hawkeyes played liked veterans at points during the game. Freshman Cully Payne led the team with 18 points. Payne, who was recognized on the all-tournament team, made 5 of 8 field goals (2 of 2 three-pointers), 6 of 7 free throws and added four assists. Another UI freshman leading the charge for the Hawkeyes was Eric May. May scored nine points, had a team-high six rebounds and went 4 of 4 from the line.
“I’m proud of them and they are going to be good here,” Lickliter said. “Just to think a year ago they were playing against high school kids. Now they have played against the number three team in the nation, a good Duquesne team and a terrific Wichita State team.”
Payne, who hit a three quarter shot on Monday, electrified the crowd once more. He threw a one-handed lob pass to the basket and made it, cutting the Shockers lead to 13 with six minutes to go.
One key point for the Iowa is their free-throw shooting. For a team that thrives from outside the arc, the Hawkeyes were able to get to the free throw line 20 times. The team shot 16 of 20 for 80 percent, compared to 3 of 6 for the Shockers.
Six Hawkeyes were able to contribute with points. Alongside Payne and May, Brennan Cougill added 11 points, followed by Matt Gatens with eight. Anthony Tucker added seven points and Jarryd Cole threw in an added four.
“The coaches want us to be in attack mode all the time,” Cougill said. “They don’t want us to be back on our heels. Eric May came in and gave us a spark. You could tell he knew what he was doing.”
The Hawkeyes made 18 of 37 field goals (48.6 percent) and attempted 18 three-pointers, making five. Wichita State won the rebounding battle, 36-17.
“Wichita State is a good team, and they were able to drive the lane on us,” Lickliter said. “That gave them the ability to pass it out for the open three-pointer. It is just hard to take away everything from a team with such a quick turn-around from the night before.”
Iowa returns home Saturday to take on North Carolina Central at 12:35 p.m. The Hawkeyes will get a few days off to recuperate from their Kansas City trip and they will have time reminisce about what they are thankful for.
“We have a lot to be thankful for,” Lickliter said. “As a coach, it is excruciating to lose a game, but there are people who suffer greater losses. We appreciate everything we have at Iowa. We will go back and practice and be thankful for that.”