Iowa Falls at Iowa State, 81-71

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Dec. 11, 2009

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By Sean Neugent

AMES, Iowa — The University of Iowa couldn’t find an answer defensively for in-state rival Iowa State and the Cyclones shot lights out to defeat Iowa, 81-71, inside Hilton Coliseum on Friday night during the Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series.

The Hawkeyes (3-7 overall) shot well offensively, but couldn’t control the Cyclones’ offense. Iowa shot 26 of 56 (46 percent) from the floor, 11 of 26 (42 percent) from 3-point range and 8 of 11 (73 percent) from the free throw line. Iowa State shot 28 of 48 (58 percent) from the field, 6 of 14 (43 percent) from deep and 19 of 28 (68 percent) from the charity stripe.

“Obviously we would have loved to come out of here with a win,” said UI interim coach Chad Walthall. “I have a feeling that there are going to be a lot of teams that come in here and won’t be on the winning end. Iowa State is very talented and a very good basketball team.”

Four Hawkeyes finished in double-figures in scoring. Matt Gatens led the way with a season-high 20 points. Jarryd Cole scored 16, Cully Payne 15 and Brennan Cougill added 12. Cougill, who shot a perfect 5 of 5 from the field and 2 of 2 from 3-point range, also paced the Hawkeyes with 10 rebounds. Anthony Tucker had six assists for Iowa. The Cyclones had only two players scoring in double-digits as Craig Brackins had a game-high 28 points and Marquis Gilstrap added 13.

Brackins quickly gave the Cyclones momentum on an alley-oop dunk to get the crowd in the game on Iowa State’s second possession. He hit two from behind-the-arc to take a 12-4 advantage as the Hawkeyes struggled to find the range early.

“They played a great game, they are very well coached and have great players,” Gatens said. “We got into a hole early, we have to come out ready to play. They came out ready and we just have to step up our intensity and do what we can. We are a young team, so we just need to keep fighting.”

The Hawkeyes looked to Gatens to get them back in the game and he did with a big three. Cougill followed with another to cut Iowa State’s lead to 14-12.

Cougill tied the score at 16-16 with a turnaround jumper a few possessions later. The Cyclones were fouled on two straight possessions that put them at the line to go ahead 20-16.

Iowa again cut it to a two-point deficit before Iowa State’s Lucca Staiger hit two from long range for a 30-22 advantage. Payne drove the lane and kicked it to the other side to an open Gatens who drained the trey to trail 34-27. Brackins was unrelenting and came back to hit one of his own from the top of the arc for a double-digit lead. Diante Garrett drove the lane on Devan Bawinkel for a layup to head into the locker room up 41-27. Brackens had 20 points in the first half.

“(Brackins) just got real comfortable early,” Gatens said. “He is a great player and when he gets that comfortable he is going to be tough to stop. He is a tough player to guard.”

Iowa State started the second half red-hot and took a 17-point lead that was capped off by another Brackins three-pointer before Cougill answered with his second trey of the game.

The Cyclones kept grinding and the Hawkeyes struggled to stop their offensive surge as they got out to an imposing 53-35 lead. Iowa also had trouble penetrating the Cyclones lock down man-to-man defense.

Gatens refused to give up and hit his third three-pointer on the night to push within 15 points of Iowa State. He went on to score the next seven points for Iowa, but Iowa State continued to respond and torch the Hawkeyes defense. Iowa did not back down and saw themselves in the game with an open three-pointer from Anthony Tucker to trail 63-50 with 6:56 remaining. The Cyclones hit one of two free throws on their next possession before Iowa put the ball back in Tucker’s hands who shot another from long range, but it rimmed out.

Payne made it interesting in the last minute with three consecutive three-pointers to cut Iowa State’s lead to 77-68, but it was too late for any comeback attempt.

“Things haven’t gone our way this year, but we have to keep fighting,” Gatens said. “It is a long season and we can turn this around and get on a win streak. We just have to keep working hard and keep our heads up.”

“We had two tough road games this week, but the guys competed for the 40-minutes,” Walthall said. “Now we will just try to improve and move on from here.”

The Hawkeyes will face their final in-state rival on Saturday, Dec. 19, when they head home to take on Drake University with a 5:35 p.m. tipoff.