Big Second Half Lifts Iowa Past Louisiana Tech

Dec. 21, 2010

Box Score

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Junior Bryce Cartwright doesn’t get the opportunity to play in front of his father very many times during the basketball season, especially now that he’s at the University of Iowa. The guard didn’t want to disappoint — and he didn’t — as his 19-point, seven assist, six rebound game propelled the Hawkeyes to a 77-58 victory over Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“It meant a lot to have him here,” said Cartwright, who was one-point off his career-high in points and assists, while tying a career-best in rebounds. “I don’t get to have him here every game — he might be at home watching the game — but to have my dad here is something special for me.”

After leading by a single point at the break, the Hawkeyes started to turn the table early in the second half. After a Matt Gatens three-pointer put Iowa up 50-45, the guard was at the center of a sequence that energized the squad and the Hawkeye faithful.

Leaking out on a fast break, Cartwright placed a ball to a streaking Gatens over the Louisiana Tech defense, where he grabbed the ball before absorbing a lot of contact and crashing to the floor. No foul was called, but the flurry of action seemed to awaken the crowd and the Hawkeyes.

“It gave us a little edge,” explained Cartwright. “I know the crowd got in to it, and we used that as energy to fuel our win.”

After a DeAndre Brown floater cut the margin to 50-47, the Hawkeyes outscored the Bulldogs 27-11 for the remainder of the contest. Cartwright started the scoring with a three-pointer and a finger roll to push the margin to 55-47. A Gatens three ball then stretched the advantage to double digits (59-49) at the 8:05 mark before Iowa pulled away down the stretch from the charity stripe.

The Hawkeyes managed to build on to their lead from the free throw stripe — a part of their game that has been hampering the squad this season. Entering the game shooting just 63 percent, Iowa made 18-of-23 attempts (78.3 percent) in the game, which included 10 straight attempts over the final seven minutes.

“I am very proud of my team right now,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “We just beat a very good basketball team. A team that came in here with nine wins.”

McCaffery was quick to recognize the gutty play of Jarryd Cole, his lone senior. “Jarryd’s performance was one of the guttiest that I’ve been around. He was sick all night. We had to put an IV in him at noon. He has not eaten anything in about a day and a half and he gives us a double-double.”

Cole gutted his way through 23 minutes in the contest, finishing with 10 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. He was one of four Hawkeyes to finish in double figures with Gatens pacing the way with a season-high 22 points on 5-of-10 shooting.

“It’s huge out of him (Cole),” said Gatens, who notched his first 20-point game of the season. “He missed shoot around and the team meal, and we had no idea if he was going to be able to play. It shows what he’s all about. It shows his great character and being all about the team.”

The first half was a back-and-forth affair with six ties and six lead changes. The Hawkeyes took control midway through the half, using a 14-2 run to turn a 12-10 deficit into a 22-14 lead. Four different Iowa players scored during the spurt, which included a steal and a fast break dunk by Cole to make the score 19-14.

Louisiana Tech answered with a 9-4 run of their own behind six points by Olu Ashaolu to even the tally at 25. Ashaolu was a monster in the post for the Bulldogs, finishing with 18 points and 11 boards, despite playing just 28 minutes due to foul trouble. The lead then changed hands four times over the final 5:21 before the Hawkeyes scored five of the final seven points to take a 35-34 advantage into the locker room.

Iowa will return to the hardwood in eight days when it opens Big Ten Conference play at Carver-Hawkeye Arena against No. 21/21 Illinois beginning at 8:05 p.m.

Iowa 77, Louisiana Tech 58 1st 2nd Final
Louisiana Tech (9-5) 34 24 58
Iowa (7-5) 35 42 77
Statistical Leaders
Points: Matt Gatens (UI) 22 | Ashaolu (LTU) 18
Rebounds: Jarryd Cole (UI) 12 | Ashaolu (LTU) 11
Assists: Bryce Cartwright (UI) 7 | McNeaill (LTU) 4