Defense Lifts Iowa Past UNI

Dec. 7, 2010

Box Score

PARDON OUR PROGRESS! As friends of the UI and fans of the Hawkeyes know, the UI Athletics Department is well into a multi-million dollar revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This important and exciting project has reduced for this season the number of ticket windows that are operational on game nights. Fans attending the home events of the 2010-11 UI men’s basketball, women’s basketball and wrestling teams are invited to avoid game night delays by purchasing their event tickets online or in advance of game day. If your schedule doesn’t allow for an advance purchase, we recommend you consider arriving at the Arena a little earlier than originally planned. Go Hawks!

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa men’s basketball team played Northern Iowa’s game, but it played it better in pulling out a 51-39 defensive victory at Carver Hawkeye-Arena on Tuesday night. The win puts the Hawkeyes above .500 for the first time since being 14-13 during the 2008-09 season.

“I thought that tonight, above all else, was an effort win,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “It certainly wasn’t a thing of beauty.”

The Hawkeyes beat the Panthers at their own game by running down the shot clock and playing tight suffocating defense. Iowa limited UNI to just five second half field goals on 17.9 percent shooting, and the Panthers shot just 27.3 percent for the game – a season-low for an Iowa opponent.

“Defensively, without question, was the most consistent 40 minutes we’ve had,” said McCaffery. “We seem to continue to have scoring droughts that have plagued us in other games. Tonight when we weren’t scoring, we were defending.”

After trailing 23-22 at the break, the Hawkeyes used back-to-back lay-ups from Matt Gatens and Jarryd Cole to take a 26-23 lead. Following a UNI lay-up that trimmed the lead to one, freshman Melsahn Basabe’s three-point play and short jumper pushed the lead to six (31-25).

Junior Bryce Cartwright then followed with a triple at the 13:47 mark to stretch the lead to nine. On the play, Cartwright leaned in, trying to draw contact – no foul was called – but the guard “line-drived” the ball into bottom of the net to make the score 37-28.

UNI followed with back-to-back three-point makes – two of its five field goals in the half – to trim the deficit to three with 11:26 remaining. Iowa, however, followed with six straight points to push its advantage back to nine.

Iowa 51, Northern Iowa 39 1st 2nd Final
Northern Iowa (4-3) 23 16 39
Iowa (5-4) 22 29 51
Statistical Leaders
Points: Melsahn Basabe (UI) 14 | Koch/Ahelegbe (UNI) 11
Rebounds: Jarryd Cole (UI) 15 | Koch (UNI) 9
Assists: Bryce Cartwright (UI) 6 | James (UNI) 3

Up seven with 8:24, Iowa failed to put the game away, as it came up empty on four straight possessions. Gatens then connected on a dagger three-point field goal, giving Iowa the 46-36 lead with 2:53 to play.

Iowa opened the game strong, building a 16-6 lead over the first nine minutes. The Hawkeyes forced the Panthers to miss eight of their first 11 shots before Adam Koch and Kwadzo Ahelegbe connected on back-to-back triples to make the score 16-12. Ahelegbe then took control, as he scored 11-of-the-next-12 UNI points to give his squad a 23-22 lead heading into the locker room.

Iowa’s frontcourt handled the bulk of the scoring, as Basabe and Cole accounted for nearly half of the team’s scoring and rebounds. Basabe netted a career-best 14 points and seven boards, while Cole had a double-double with 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds – the most for the Hawkeyes since 2006.

“Tonight, it seemed like every rebound that was up there was Jarryd’s – that was his attitude,” said Basabe. “It seems like he was really clicking the last few days with his scoring, so he put it all together tonight and had a good performance.”

The Hawkeyes will return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday night when they host Iowa State in the seventh annual Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk series beginning at 7:35 p.m.