Jan. 9, 2014
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Senior Melsahn Basabe became the third current Hawkeye to join the 1,000-point club in the No. 20/23 University of Iowa men’s basketball team’s 93-67 rout of Northwestern on Thursday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I wasn’t focusing on this because I assumed I was going to get to 1,000,” said Basabe. “I started off the season at 900, so I wasn’t thinking about it every day. Everybody around me was so excited about it; my mom, my auntie, my girl, everyone was saying 1,000 points… I am glad we got that out of the way.”
Basabe finished with 16 points on 5-of-5 shooting and went 6-of-10 from the free throw stripe. He also grabbed 10 rebounds to post his second double-double of the season. Basabe is the 42nd player in Iowa history to reach 1,000 points, currently sitting at 1,009 points.
“In the last couple of weeks, Melsahn has been blocking shots, rebounding, running the floor, and it was good for him to finally get some offensive production out of some things,” said UI assistant coach Kirk Speraw, who filled in as head coach for a suspended Fran McCaffery. “I am very proud of him. He has had a great career here and continues to have a great career.”
Senior Roy Devyn Marble (1,390 points), junior Aaron White (1,092 points) and Basabe became Iowa’s fifth trio of players on the same team to score 1,000 points and the first since 2005 (Greg Brunner, Jeff Horner, Pierre Pierce).
White paced the Hawkeyes with 18 points, making 4-of-7 field goals and 10-of-10 free throws to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists. It was White’s third double-double this season and the 11th of his career. Marble netted 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go along with six assists, while sophomore Adam Woodbury had 10 points, making 4-of-7 attempts.
Iowa shot 56.9 percent (29-of-51) from the floor and 57.1 percent (8-of-14) from 3-point range. The Hawkeyes also made 27-of-36 free throws (75 percent) and out-rebounded Northwestern, 41-28. Iowa had 22 assists on its 29 field goals.
“We didn’t have any long dry spells offensively, but I think a lot of that was good defense and getting things in transition,” said Speraw. “We got the ball inside, got to the free throw line and shot it well from the perimeter. It’s always good to have all those options coming through for you.”
The Wildcats shot 39 percent (23-of-59) from the field and went 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) from behind the arc. JerShon Cobb led a pair of Northwestern players in double figures, finishing with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
The Hawkeyes pounced on the Wildcats early, jumping out to a 10-0 lead over the first 4:30 behind three points apiece from Basabe and Marble. After Northwestern trimmed the lead to 12-8 on a Cobb jumper at the 13:41 mark, senior Zach McCabe drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing to make the score 15-8.
Up five (20-15) with 8:26 left in the half, the Hawkeyes got back-to-back 3-balls from Mike Gesell and Jarrod Uthoff to open a double-digit (26-15) advantage. Iowa made 9-of-17 shots to start the game, which included five 3-pointers in seven attempts.
The final four minutes of the first half was all White from the free throw stripe. The junior scored eight-straight points for the Hawkeyes, helping Iowa build a 37-23 lead. Two Basabe free throws with 1:40 remaining in the half gave the Hawkeyes a 39-25 advantage, and the points gave Basabe 1,000 for his career.
After taking a 41-26 lead into the break, Iowa was never threatened in the second half. The Hawkeyes stretched their advantage to 20 points (57-37) five minutes into the second half courtesy of a Basabe jumper and led 69-45 with 9:06 remaining. The Hawkeyes scored nine-straight in a two-minute stretch to open a game-high 31 point lead (88-57) on a steal and fast-break dunk by White.
The Hawkeyes (13-3, 2-1) now head to Columbus for a Sunday afternoon matchup against No. 3 Ohio State.
“It would be big to get that monkey off our backs,” said White of getting a “big-time” road win. “Not that we’re thinking about it, but everyone keeps asking about it, and it’s kind of getting old. We need to go out and prove we’re a top team and beat somebody on the road.”