Jan. 18, 2014
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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.
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Senior Melsahn Basabe wants to hold up his end of the bargain for the No. 14/16 University of Iowa men’s basketball team. With consecutive double-doubles heading into Sunday’s game against Minnesota, he’s doing his part.
“I want to be successful and do the things I am capable of doing,” said Basabe. “That’s what you want to do no matter if you’re a freshman or a senior. It is such an important time and if I do the right things for our team, it will be so valuable.”
Basabe finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds in a 93-67 win over Northwestern on Jan. 9, making all five of his field goal attempts and 6-of-10 free throws. He followed with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds in an 84-74 road triumph at No. 3 Ohio State, giving Iowa its first win over a top-five foe since 2001.
“Right now, I am doing what I am capable of doing and giving maximum effort,” said Basabe. “As a team, we’re doing good things, and it’s my final stretch, so I want to leave everything out there.”
“Right now, I am doing what I am capable of doing and giving maximum effort. As a team, we’re doing good things, and it’s my final stretch, so I want to leave everything out there.”
UI senior Melsahn Basabe
Senior Roy Devyn Marble says it gives the Hawkeyes an added dimension when Basabe is producing at his current rate.
“It gives us a low-post presence in terms of scoring and protecting the rim on defense,” said Marble. “It’s big for us to have him play like that. He rebounds well, and we need that going down the stretch in the Big Ten.”
UI head coach Fran McCaffery says Basabe is competing with a purpose.
“You’re seeing a guy who is comfortable and is excited to be playing the way he is playing,” said McCaffery. “He wants to compete at that level and play beyond college. You’re seeing a different level of maturity with his entire approach. If he’s playing like that, we’re a better team.”
Basabe is averaging 13.5 points and shooting 90 percent (9-of-10) from the floor during his double-double stretch. He has also made 9-of-14 free throws and pulled down 20 rebounds (five offensive).
“He has been a big presence for us,” said junior Aaron White. “Hopefully he continues to play that well.”
With the Hawkeyes receiving attention nationally for their success, Basabe says it’s important to stay humble and keep moving forward.
“It’s good when you get the attention, and everyone likes it, but it’s not that big of deal because we’ve been playing like this all season,” he said. “Now it’s about staying within ourselves, everybody picking each other up and keeping your eye on the prize because it’s far from over.
“It’s special when you get a group of guys like us, have talent and have the opportunity to do something special. We have to take advantage of and appreciate it.”
Iowa returns to action Sunday, hosting Minnesota at noon (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network with Eric Collins and Shon Morris on the call.