Jan. 9, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — As a captain and the team’s lone senior, University of Iowa center Jarryd Cole spoke to the Hawkeye youngsters about the trials of playing on the road in the Big Ten Conference.
He didn’t think his speech was necessary.
“The freshmen are great, they have the mentality that they want to go out and compete every night,” Cole said. “There’s not much that needs to be said. I think they’re ready. It’s definitely going to be a different environment, but I think they’re ready to perform.”
Iowa (7-7 overall, 0-2 Big Ten Conference) plays at No. 10 Purdue (14-1, 3-0) later this morning with an 11:01 tip (CT). It is the first conference road trip for Hawkeye freshmen Melsahn Basabe, Roy Devyn Marble and Zach McCabe, who all played during a 73-68 loss to Ohio State on Tuesday. In 32 minutes, Basabe scored 22 points with 13 rebounds and six blocked shots.
“I already had confidence coming into the (Ohio State) game, now my focus is to not make it a one-time thing every few games, but come out consistently,” Basabe said. “I’ve proven I can do it, I know I can do it, so I expect to play at a high level every game.”
Basabe and Cole are the only players to start all 14 games for Iowa this season. In his first league outing against Illinois, Basabe scored four points in 12 minutes. That was followed by his monster performance against the Buckeyes. Cold, hot; off, on…not exactly the consistency UI head coach Fran McCaffery preaches.
“We still have to get more consistent, and I think that’s obvious at both ends,” McCaffery said. “We’re phenomenal in spurts and not so good in spurts, and some of that is inexperience and some of that has to be corrected.”
“The freshmen are great, they have the mentality that they want to go out and compete every night. There’s not much that needs to be said. I think they’re ready. It’s definitely going to be a different environment, but I think they’re ready to perform.”
UI senior captain
For the season, Basabe is averaging 9.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, followed by McCabe (8.4-4.5) and Marble (5.8-2.6).
The challenge Sunday for the Hawkeyes is a once-beaten Boilermaker team that has won seven straight times in the series. It is Iowa’s third game in a row against a nationally ranked opponent (No. 23 Illinois, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 10 Purdue).
“It’s the Big Ten,” UI junior Bryce Cartwright said. “That’s what we want, that’s what we signed up for, so we can’t complain about it, you just have to go out there and play.”
Basabe is familiar with the Boilermakers. Last March, as a high school senior committed to play to McCaffery at Siena, Basabe watched as the Saints dropped a 72-64 decision to Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Spokane, Wash.
“I watched the game with my mother and sister,” Basabe said. “I know Purdue was a good team, but Siena almost beat them and they were missing one of their best players — not to take credit away from Purdue. We’re going into Purdue Sunday confident. We know it’s going to be a battle at their place, but we’re going in to win, not just compete.”
Purdue’s Mackey Arena holds 14,123 and not many in attendance will be cheering for the visitors. And even though Iowa has played at Wake Forest and at Drake, this will be an entirely different atmosphere.
“The biggest challenge will be having a gym full of people who are cheering against you,” Cole said. “We’ve been away a couple times, but this is Big Ten Conference play and it’s going to be a lot more elevated than it was. The biggest adjustment will be to play under pressure in front of thousands of fans that want to see you fail.”