Dec. 15, 2011
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — With three games remaining before the start of Big Ten Conference play, the University of Iowa men’s basketball team looks to gain some momentum.
Following an eight day lay-off for finals week, the Hawkeyes look to get back on track when they welcome Drake to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday night.
“Right now it is important to get a win,” said sophomore forward Melsahn Basabe, who scored a season-high 18 points on Dec. 9 at Iowa State. “We’re 5-5, and we’re not where we want to be as a team. We need to string a few wins together and pick things up because we only have a few more games until the Big Ten season starts, and all those games are wars.”
“Right now it is important to get a win. We’re 5-5, and we’re not where we want to be as a team. We need to string a few wins together and pick things up because we only have a few more games until the Big Ten season starts, and all those games are wars.”
UI sophomore Melsahn Basabe
Senior guard Matt Gatens says Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs is important for the Hawkeyes.
“We don’t want to go 0-3 against instate teams, it’s a big deal for us,” he said. “We’re going to go into Drake with a lot of concentration and respect. We know they beat Iowa State, and they’re having a good year. Hopefully we’ll be ready for them.”
The Hawkeyes look to get back to the up-tempo, running style that helped the team get off to a 3-0 start. Iowa averaged 93 points during the three-game winning streak to start the season. Since then, when the team has lost five of seven contests, the Hawkeyes have averaged 66.8 points and have broken the 80-point mark just once.
“I think it’s getting back to running like we were doing that the first few games,” said Gatens on what it will take to get the offense back clicking. “We can still run — it’s everybody, the bigs, the guards, the guys on the wing — it’s what we need to get back to. We’ve talked about it, but we really haven’t shown it these last few games.”
As the schedule gets harder, Basabe said the Hawkeyes need to be more concise offensively.
“As the competition increases, then so does how sharp and precise you have to be in executing the offense,” he said. “The guards have to set themselves up and the big men’s responsibility is to pick their man. Not all of us are doing a really good job of that right now. We have to work for each other. That’s how everybody will prosper.”
The eight-day layoff has benefited the team in helping get players like Bryce Cartwright and Andrew Brommer on the mend. Cartwright missed the game at Northern Iowa with a hamstring injury before playing six minutes off the bench at Iowa State, while Brommer is still working his way back from a preseason knee injury.
“Bryce is coming along,” said Gatens. “He’s still being careful with an injury like that. Brommer is working, and these days off from games will really help and allow him to get back closer to 100 percent.”
Saturday’s game will be televised on the Big Ten Network beginning at 8:06 p.m. (CT) with Tom Werme and Keno Davis calling the action.