Nov. 14, 2010
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By ADAM MEIER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Fran McCaffery era commenced Sunday, but the overhauled Hawkeyes were defeated 79-69 by South Dakota State.
Iowa crept out of the gate in the first half, netting just 11 points by the 12-minute mark. The slow start could be attributed to a number of Hawkeye mishaps. Perhaps the most glaring was the 14 first-half turnovers.
“It’s hard to win with 10 assists and 18 turnovers,” McCaffery said. “We only had two players with an assist. We’ve got to get more players to drive and kick and create more opportunities.”
Although the Hawkeyes cut down on turnovers in the second half, the Jackrabbits’ long-range shooting didn’t Iowa to build any kind of lead.
|South Dakota State 79, Iowa 69||1st||2nd||Final|
|South Dakota State||38||41||79|
|Points: Eric May (UI) 20 | Wolters (SDSU) 25|
|Rebounds: Melsahn Basabe (UI) 9 | Fiegen (SDSU) 10|
|Assists: Cully Payne (UI) 6 | Wolters (SDSU) 9|
SDSU hit 10 of 21 3-point attempts, while the Hawkeyes managed to make only 3 out of 10.
“Clearly you have to give great respect to South Dakota State and how they executed,” McCaffery said. “It was not unexpected. They’ve got a savvy team with a terrific point guard.”
McCaffery was referring to sophomore Nate Wolters, who tallied 25 points and nine assists while hitting all three of his shots from beyond the arc.
“It’s hard to win with 10 assists and 18 turnovers. We only had two players with an assist. We’ve got to get more players to drive and kick and create more opportunities.”
UI head coach
“We were fortunate that Nate played well,” SDSU coach Scott Nagy said. “He’s a tremendous point guard and we know that. Now some other people know that.”
The new up-tempo style of play McCaffery has implemented was evident when watching the Hawkeyes press and push the ball up the court, but the success wasn’t.
“Cully just didn’t penetrate tonight,” McCaffery said. “He did one time, took it all the way through, and laid it in. I want him to do more of that. Bryce has to play at a more intense pace. He’s talented and can really impact the game. I think what you’ll see is both of those guys play better as we move forward.”
The crowd of 11,700 saw plenty of new faces for the Hawkeyes on Sunday, highlighted by freshman Zach McCabe. McCabe scored 11 points and added seven rebounds in his Hawkeye debut. Fellow freshmen Roy Devyn Marble and Melsahn Basabe did what they could to help the Hawkeyes stay in the game.
Marble tallied seven points and connected on his only 3-point attempt. Basabe, who started the game at forward, hit the boards hard, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking a shot in 24 minutes.
After ending the first half on the wrong end of a 10-0 run, Iowa came out fast in the second half, going on a 12-2 run, giving the Hawkeyes a one-point lead with 15 minutes remaining. From that point on Iowa’s offense failed to execute consistently down the stretch when it mattered most.
“We panicked a little,” McCaffery said. “We just have to know and understand how to do a better job late in the game. Our pressure wasn’t what it needed to be down the stretch. We’ll get better in those areas.”
It is never easy for a team as young as this one to stay calm and collective in a nail-biter, but it was made even more difficult when McCaffery chose to sit the healing Matt Gatens.
“It certainly would have been nice to have him,” said McCaffery. “We didn’t have that one offensive weapon that you would like to have taking some of the pressure off the other guys.”
Cole finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. The veteran big man also hit 7 of his 10 foul shots while playing 30 minutes.
May added a career-high 20 points on 8 of 16 shooting, many of which came on driving lay-ups. Gatens’ return will lessen May’s workload and deepen the Hawkeye’s rotation at guard.
There is no denying that it will take more work to get Carver “MAD” again. “We need as much time together as we possibly can have,” McCaffery added. “We need to get comfortable with what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, why we’re doing it, and who’s doing it.”
The Hawkeyes look to get their first win Tuesday, Nov. 16, against Louisiana-Monroe. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.