Feb. 19, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Matt Gatens played 40 minutes Sunday against Indiana; University of Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said he could have played 40 more.
And the end result would be gaudy final statistics.
Gatens, a senior guard for the Hawkeye men’s basketball team, scored a career-high 30 points with seven 3-pointers, leading Iowa past No. 18 Indiana, 78-66, on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It is the third win for the Hawkeyes over a ranked opponent this season.
“It was fun,” Gatens said. “Coach called a couple plays for me and I stepped up and made them. The guys did a great job screening and getting me the ball in time; it was a total team effort all the way.”
Hawkeye sophomore Melsahn Basabe was a spark and Gatens was fire. Basabe led all players during the first 20 minutes with nine points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. He finished with 13 points, seven boards and five blocks. In his postgame comments, Basabe distributed credit like teammate Roy Devyn Marble distributed a game-high seven assists.
“Today was a team effort,” Basabe said. “I don’t know if people realize how important (freshman Darius) Stokes was off the bench. The role-play guys came in and didn’t make any mistakes and they knew exactly what they were doing.”
Iowa improved to 14-13 overall, 6-8 in the Big Ten Conference. The Hawkeyes snapped Indiana’s three-game winning streak, leaving the Hoosiers with a record of 20-7, 8-7.
On Jan. 29, Indiana dismantled Iowa, 103-89, in Bloomington, thanks to 58 points in the paint. On Sunday, the Hawkeyes held a 24-22 edge in paint points.
“It was a focal point coming into the game,” McCaffery said. “We kept the ball out of the paint on penetration, that’s the critical thing. We tried to make sure that didn’t happen, and we did a good job of that.”
Gatens was 7-for-10 behind the arc and the Hawkeyes finished 9-for-18 as a team.
“He’s not only one of the better shooters and guards in the Big Ten, he’s one of the better shooters and guards in the country,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said of Gatens.
“He’s just been playing as well, if not better, than anybody in this league,” McCaffery said of Gatens. “Coaching is easy when you can start running some clock, and then run something for him. We just kept going to him a different way, and he kept ringing the bell.”
In a 69-64 setback Thursday at Penn State, Gatens scored 19 second-half points (6-of-8 field goals, 5-of-7 3-pointers, 2-of-2 free throws). During the final 20 minutes against Indiana, he made 8-of-10 field goals and all six 3-point attempts for 22 points.
“It was fun, but way more fun winning,” Gatens said. “The winning part means a lot, with everybody stepping up. It was fun knocking off a ranked team.”
Iowa won the rebounding battle, 41-35.
“I thought the way we limited them to 11 (offensive rebounds) and we had 16, and we had 41 (total rebounds) to their 35 was very important,” McCaffery said.
The Hawkeyes opened their biggest lead of 19 points (52-33) when Andrew Brommer scored on a tip-in with 12:13 left in the game.
With Basabe dominating like he did during his breakout freshman season, and five Hawkeyes chipping in at least six points, Iowa bolted to a 37-26 halftime lead. Indiana controlled the first 2 ½ minutes, grabbing an 8-4 lead on a 3-pointer from Derek Elston with 17:51 left in the half. The Hawkeyes’ first lead came compliments of Oglesby, who sank a 3 with an assist from Marble at the 17:22 mark.
Iowa built the advantage to 14 points on a Marble field goal with 40 seconds left before the break.
Eleven Hawkeyes took the court in the first 20 minutes. Iowa held a 24-17 advantages in second-chance points (11-1) and points off turnovers (10-1). Basabe was 4-of-5 from the field and closed the half with nine points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
Iowa returns to action Thursday, Feb. 23, against Wisconsin on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. (CT).