Dec. 3, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Slumps aren’t broken in a single game, but the University of Iowa men’s basketball team showed signs of putting its struggles in the rear view mirror in Saturday’s 75-54 victory over Brown on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We really hadn’t played well for the better part of four games,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “We’re better than we were playing, and hopefully that will continue.”
Seven Hawkeyes scored eight or more points, and Iowa shot 40.6 percent (28-of-69) from the field, while out rebounding the Bears, 56-37.
Sophomore Melsahn Basabe, who had scored eight points combined the previous four games, posted his second double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and sophomore Roy Devyn Marble had 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Seniors Matt Gatens and Andrew Brommer, sophomore Zach McCabe and freshman Aaron White each scored nine points, while junior Eric May added eight.
“That’s the way our team is going to be,” said McCaffery of the balanced scoring effort. “We have a lot of good players that are capable of scoring and a lot of different guys that can make a 3-pointer or post up.”
Iowa’s defense limited Brown to 35 percent (21-of-60) shooting and 18.2 (4-of-22) from 3-point range.
“It was a good all-around effort on defense to hold them to four 3s because they are a team that likes the 3-pointers,” said Gatens. “It’s nice to see us execute what we talked about.”
After taking a 14-point lead into the half, the Hawkeyes hit Brown in the mouth to start the second. Iowa scored 10 of the first 13 points to build a 48-27 lead. During the run, a pair of dunks energized the Hawkeye faithful.
“That was a big play for us,” said Gatens of Basabe’s slam. “That got the crowd going a little bit and got him going. We need more plays like that.”
The Hawkeyes appeared to have the game in hand, building a 52-30 lead on a May jumper with 14:37 remaining, but Brown answered with a 10-2 run to pull to within 54-40 with 11:38 left in the contest.
Iowa responded with a 12-2 run to put the game away for good. A Basabe jumper stretched the margin to 21 points (65-44) at the 7:16 mark, and the lead swelled to 24 (73-49) with 3:01 remaining.
McCabe and Basabe combined to score Iowa’s first 11 points of the game, as the Hawkeyes jumped out to an 11-4 lead early in the first half. Iowa then went on a 10-2 run fueled by six points by Marble to build a 21-6 advantage. The Hawkeye defense did their part, holding Brown without a field goal for more than nine minutes early in the half.
Brown trimmed its deficit to 10 points (27-17) before Marble’s three point play made the score 30-19 with 4:15 remaining in the half. The Hawkeyes went into the locker room with the 38-24 advantage.
Iowa (5-3) now turns its attention to Tuesday night where it heads to Cedar Falls for its first road game, an in-state clash at Northern Iowa.
“Tuesday night we’re playing a terrific team,” said McCaffery. “It’s going to take a great effort to go up there and win.”