Nov. 21, 2012
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CANCUN, Mexico — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team made its free throws, but not much else in a 75-63 loss to Wichita State in the championship game of the 2012 Cancun Challenge.
The Hawkeyes (5-1) scored nearly half of its points from the charity stripe, converting 31-of-39 attempts for the game. Iowa made just four field goals in the second half and was 12-of-46 (26.1 percent) for the game.
“We struggled shooting the ball this entire game,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “But I did think we battled.”
Four Hawkeye players finished in double figures with sophomore Aaron White leading the way with 14 points on 1-of-4 shooting. White did most of his damage at the free throw line, converting 11-of-12 attempts. White tied the Cancun Challenge record for most free throws made with 28 over four games.
The Shockers shot 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the floor and outscored Iowa, 30-6, in the paint. Junior Cleanthony Early paced Wichita State, scoring 25 points on 7-of-13 shooting to go along with nine rebounds off the bench.
After trailing by two points at the break, the Shockers scored 13-of-the-first-15 points over the first five minutes to turn a 35-33 deficit into a 46-37 lead. Wichita State’s defense caused fits for the Hawkeyes, forcing Iowa to miss its first five shots and commit three turnovers during the stretch.
“The disappointing thing as I look back at this game is the first minute of the second half, we turned it over and don’t execute on a set play we designed,” said McCaffery. “We go down and give up a second shot and they tie the game.
“We need to start the game differently because they just hit a 3 and they have all the momentum. Then we look up and we’re down nine… it’s that quick.”
The Hawkeyes weathered the storm, using a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to two with 12:11 remaining. May’s dunk at the 13:57 mark made the score 48-42, White’s 3-pointer trimmed the margin to three (48-45) with 13:16 remaining, and junior Melsahn Basabe’s free throw made the score 48-46.
The Shockers followed with the next seven points to match its biggest lead at 55-46 with 10:41 to play. The Hawkeyes stayed within striking distance by converting free throws. Two Mike Gesell freebies made the score 61-54 at the 6:35 mark and a pair of Basabe free throws with 4:25 to play cut the deficit to 66-58.
Marble’s jumper cut the deficit to six (66-60), and Iowa trailed 68-62 with 1:15 to play.
Marble got off to a quick start, scoring eight of the team’s first 13 points, but Wichita State led early, 14-13. With the score tied at 20, the Hawkeyes took the lead courtesy of back-to-back 3-poiinters from Oglesby to open a 27-“22” advantage.
After pushing the lead to 29-23 on a pair of White free throws, Early scored four straight to make the score 29-27, and then the team’s went on a 3-point barrage.
Oglesby hit his third 3 of the half to make the score 32-27, but Wichita State’s Malcolm Armstead answered. Freshman Anthony Clemmons then beat the shot clock and connected on a triple with 29 ticks left, but Early nailed a tripled with five seconds left to send the game into the break with Iowa leading, 35-33.
Iowa made 7-of-8 3-point and 12-of-15 free throw attempts over the opening 20 minutes.
White and Marble were both selected to the Cancun Challenge All-Tournament team.
The Hawkeyes return to action Tuesday, playing at Virginia Tech in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.