Dec. 22, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The high-flying University of Iowa men’s basketball team slammed home 11 dunks en route to its 11th victory, an 80-50 blasting of Coppin State on Saturday afternoon on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes finish the nonconference portion of their schedule on a six-game winning streak — the longest since Dec. of 2004 — to push their record to 11-2 with a Dec. 31 matchup looming against nationally-ranked Indiana in the Big Ten Conference opener.
“Gabe would have won, especially with his actions after the dunks,” said White, who led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting. “Oh, I forgot about Eric… there were a lot of good dunks, a lot of good plays, it was a good team win.”
“There were a lot of highlights, dunking wise,” said May.
Iowa shot 51.7 percent from the field, making 31-of-60 field goal attempts. The Hawkeyes were 31-of-43 (72 percent) from inside the 3-point arc and 0-of-17 from long range. Iowa was 18-of-31 from the free throw line (58.1 percent) and out rebounded the Eagles, 54-29. The team had 21 assists on the 31 makes, but committed 20 turnovers.
“Twenty turnovers and 0-of-17,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “You don’t expect to win by 30. I thought our defensive effort and concentration early set the tone. We really got after them with our press, and did some stuff aggressively at half court.”
Along with White’s 20 points, Olaseni had a career-best 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks. Junior Roy Devyn Marble was the third player in double digits, finishing with 11 points, his 12th game in double figures this season.
Twelve of the 14 players that saw action for the Hawkeyes scored.
After playing to a 7-7 tie over the first three minutes, it was all Iowa. The Hawkeyes reeled off nine straight points and used a 17-2 run to build a 24-9 advantage. Freshman Adam Woodbury opened the scoring with a free throw and short jumper, while Olaseni’s dunk made the score 24-9 at the 7:28 mark.
Iowa pushed its lead to 31-13 on a Marble-to-White alley oop dunk with 3:15 left in the half, and the Hawkeyes scored the final seven points to take a 40-14 lead into the locker room.
After giving up seven points in the first three minutes, Iowa’s defense limited the Eagles to seven points for the remainder of the half. Coppin State was 6-of-24 (25 percent) from the field, while committing 12 first-half turnovers.
The Hawkeyes shot 54.8 percent (17-of-31) over the first 20 minutes, but were 0-of-11 from 3-point distance. Iowa was nearly flawless from inside the 3-point arc, converting 17-of-20 attempts (85 percent), which led to a 24-6 advantage in points in the paint.
White scored seven of Iowa’s first 13 points to start the second half, as the Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 53-26 at the 14:25 mark. May’s thunderous one-handed dunk ended a 7-0 spurt that pushed the lead to 60-26, and Olaseni’s two-handed slam at the 4:45 mark made the score 73-42.
“That was old Eric,” said Marble. “I haven’t seen that in a minute. Hopefully we can see more of that during the Big Ten (play).”
The final individual highlight might have topped them all. Senior Christopher Rickertt hooked up with Olaseni on a perfectly thrown alley-oop pass on a fast break with 42 seconds remaining, which accounted for the game’s final points.
“I don’t particularly want to be dunking the ball when we’re up by 28 with less than a minute to go,” said McCaffery. “That’s not my style. With that said, we have Chris Rickertt in the game, and he works extremely hard.
“That was the best alley-oop pass we’ve had all season. Good for him, good for Gabe, the crowd loved it. I would have preferred that we not make that play in that situation.”
Iowa opens Big Ten play Dec. 31, hosting Indiana at 3 p.m. (CT).
“We’ll find out pretty quick,” said McCaffery when asked if his team is ready for the Hoosiers. “We have some work to do between now and then. We have great character and great camaraderie on the team, and our guys will be ready.”