Feb. 23, 2013
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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 — He isn’t putting up jaw-dropping statistics, but the University of Iowa men’s basketball team points to senior Eric May as the glue behind the Hawkeyes’ first three-game Big Ten winning streak since 2007.
Over the past three games, May has been doing everything… and everything well.
He is averaging 7.7 points on 63.6 percent shooting, making 7-of-11 field goal attempts, both 3-pointers and all five free throw attempts. He also has 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals during the stretch.
“I have been confident,” said May, who is averaging 4.7 points and 3.6 rebounds this season. “I have been knocking down shots, knocking down free throws and getting boards. It’s the little things that get you going and then a shot drops.”
UI head coach Fran McCaffery says May has been playing as well as anyone on the team.
“He’s doing everything. He is handling the ball, making passes, in the press, rebounding in traffic, hitting 3s, dunking the ball, stealing the ball. What can you say about him? He’s arguably playing better than anybody else we have right now.”
UI head coach Fran McCaffery
“He’s doing everything,” said McCaffery. “He is handling the ball, making passes, in the press, rebounding in traffic, hitting 3s, dunking the ball, stealing the ball. What can you say about him?
“He’s arguably playing better than anybody else we have right now.”
In Iowa’s 72-51 victory over Minnesota on Feb. 17, May finished with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting to go along with a team-high seven rebounds. The performance was the guard’s first Big Ten game in double figures since Feb. 5, 2011, in a 64-63 road win at Indiana.
“He has been playing great, playing within himself and keeping the offense moving,” said sophomore Aaron White. “He’s doing all the little things and has been a huge part of our success.
“If you look at the numbers, he makes all the little plays. He feeds the post, runs the floor, plays great defense and rebounds the heck out of the ball.”
With 121 games of collegiate experience to fall back on, May says his play and the game have slowed down.
“The pace of my game has gotten to the point where it has slowed down for me where I am seeing guys when they’re open and waiting for plays to develop,” he said. “I might not have been doing that my first few years. I am playing at a really comfortable pace and really getting after it.”
May was instrumental in keeping the Hawkeyes attitude up when the team suffered through four excruciating Big Ten losses when holding a late lead. With the struggles now in their distant memory, May is proud of the persistence the team has shown in battling back.
“To stick with it says a lot about our guys, and I am so proud of the team that I am a part of,” he said. “Some teams might have packed it in after those tough losses, but not us. We’re sticking with it, we’re fighting and the whole Hawkeye nation is making it even easier.
“Everyone is staying behind us, and we’re as positive as ever.”
A lot of that can be attributed to May’s play and leadership.
“He has been doing it all year,” said junior Roy Devyn Marble. “It goes unnoticed a lot of the time, but he has been a key factor for this team.”
Iowa looks for its fourth straight win today when it faces Nebraska at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Neb., beginning at 1 p.m. (CT). The game will be available online at BTN2Go.com.