Nov. 20, 2010
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St. Thomas, USVI — It wasn’t always pretty, but the end result – a 55-47 victory over Alabama – will give the Hawkeyes a good vibe heading into their off day at the 2010 Paradise Jam. More importantly, the performance gives Iowa its second victory of the 2010-11 season.
“Our offense was good enough, but it needs to get better,” said Head Coach Fran McCaffery, who improves to 2-2 in his first season in Black and Gold. “We got something positive off our set plays and our decision-making was good. We drove the ball and got into the bonus when we needed to. I think our performance overall really exudes character and that’s what makes me so proud.”
After taking a 29-27 lead into the half, Eric May helped the Hawkeyes stretch their advantage to five at 36-31, as the sophomore scored the team’s first seven points of the second half. Alabama answered to cut the deficit to one at 38-37, but Iowa responded with an 8-0 run to jump out to a 46-37 advantage with 8:05 remaining.
Devon Archie opened the spurt with a lay-up before Zach McCabe knocked down a pair of free throws to make the score 42-37. Iowa’s defense then buckled down as it played 35 seconds of team defense to force an Alabama shot clock violation. Roy Devyn Marble and McCabe then followed with back-to-back field goals to make the score 46-37.
Alabama ended its nearly five-minute scoring drought with a lay-up by Chris Hines, but Bryce Cartwright answered with a trey at the 6:19 mark to stretch Iowa’s lead to double digits at 49-39. The Crimson Tide then made things interesting as they closed the gap to four points (51-47) with 28 seconds to play.
“We need to learn to stay patient,” said McCabe, who finished with a team-high 13 points. “We were up 10 late in the game, but we drove and made questionable decisions at the end of the contest.”
|Iowa 55, Alabama 47||1st||2nd||Final|
|Points: Zach McCabe (UI) 13 | Green (UA) 17|
|Rebounds: Zach McCabe (UI) 6 | Releford (UA) 8|
|Assists: Roy Devyn Marble/ Bryce Cartwright (UI) 2 | Mitchell (UA) 3|
Things didn’t look promising for the Hawkeyes in the first half, as Alabama jumped out to a 7-0 and 15-5 lead. Iowa, however, righted its ship, as it battled back to take its first lead at 18-16 on a May three-pointer at the 5:04 mark. The score was then tied five times before Jordan Stoermer knocked down a pair of free throws with two seconds remaining to give the Hawkeyes a 29-27 advantage – a lead they would never relinquish.
“Going down 11-3 to start the game, and being down 10 points early, rarely do you win those types of games,” said McCaffery. “We kept our composure and kept coming. “
“The coaches talked about how we had to get out fast,” said McCabe. “We didn’t do that at the beginning, but we knew we had a lot of game left. We kept playing our hardest and grinding. We got other players in off the bench and they contributed.”
The bench did just that, it contributed. The Iowa reserves provided a big spark in the game, as they outscored their Alabama counterparts, 31-5. Along with McCabe’s 13 points, May was also in double digits, finishing with 12 points, while fellow reserve Bryce Cartwright added 10. In total, nine different Iowa players scored.
With the victory, Iowa moves into the fourth place game, where it will face Long Beach State at 2:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon. Before facing LBSU, the Hawkeyes will have a chance to experience some of St. Thomas.
“Tomorrow, the tournament will take our players snorkeling to Turtle Island,” said McCaffery. “It’s important for the team when we go to a function like this that we don’t lose focus on trying to win, but at the same time we allow the kids to have some fun.”