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Hawkeyes can’t catch up to ISU

[ 4 ] December 9, 2011 |

Friday was a day of losing for the Iowa men’s basketball team.

It started with former Hawkeye Ryan Bowen resigning as the Iowa video coordinator and administrative assistant to accept an assistant coaching position with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.

It continued with Iowa losing the momentum early in the first half against Iowa State and then having to play catch-up for the rest of the game.

And it concluded with the Hawkeyes losing to the Cyclones 86-76 before a sellout crowd of 14,356 at Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State shot 59.2 percent in the first half and led 48-27 at halftime. Iowa held the Cyclones to just eight baskets in the second half and closed to within eight points in the final seconds of the game.

But it was too little and too late.

“Our defense hasn’t been that great all year long, but we saw some positives in the second half,” said Iowa senior guard Matt Gatens. “If we play with more sense of urgency on the defensive end it gets a little better.

“But it shouldn’t take getting down by 20 (points) to create that.”

Iowa fell to 5-5 and the players now have a week off to take semester exams and to heal before facing Drake on Dec. 17 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa State improved to 7-3 and has won three consecutive games against Iowa.

Senior point guard Bryce Cartwright played six minutes in the first half despite a sore hamstring, but he was mostly ineffective.

McCaffery didn’t use Cartwright in the second half.

“I thought he wasn’t himself,” McCaffery said of Cartwright, who had two turnovers and two assists. “He makes a turnover and he doesn’t run back. He couldn’t change directions. And I had to get him out of there.”

Iowa was leading 4-0 when Iowa State sophomore forward Royce White began making his presence felt in a big way. He made Iowa State’s first basket on a rim-rattling dunk with 17 minutes, 39 seconds left in the first half. He followed that with another dunk that came after White had made a nifty spin move to get past Iowa forward Zach McCabe.

White then hit a jump shot to give Iowa State its first lead at 6-4 with 16:36 remaining in the first half. He then assisted on a basket by Melvin Ejim, which expanded the lead to 8-4 and forced McCaffery to call a timeout less than four minutes into the game.

Iowa pulled even at 11-11 on a dunk by sophomore forward Melsahn Basabe with 15:49 left before halftime.

But from that point on in the first half, it was all Iowa State, starting with a 14-2 scoring run that expanded the lead to 25-13.

“You could tell they were on the edge of their seats waiting for something to happen,” White said of the Iowa State fans.

Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg credited the Iowa State fans for helping his team start quickly.

“It was Hilton Magic,” said Hoiberg, a former star player at Iowa State in the 1990s. “That’s what it is. Those fans came out here and they were ready. And then we came out and had our best half of the season.”

Sophomore Devyn Marble started his second consecutive game at point guard and led the Hawkeyes in scoring for the second game in a row with a career high 21 points.

Basabe also had one of his better games of the season, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds. However, he didn’t block any shots, which didn’t go unnoticed by McCaffery.

“He’s got to block some shots for us,” McCaffery said of Basabe, who blocked seven shots against Iowa State last season. “And that’s what I told him.

“Eighteen (points) and nine (rebounds) on the road is a step in the right direction. He played against high-level competition. But he didn’t present the defensive presence that I know he can be.”

Gatens was the only other player for Iowa to score in double figures with 11 points. He had been held to below double figures in each of his last three games.

White led five Iowa State players in double figures with 17 points, but he only scored three points in the second half.

Iowa State made 8-of-19 shots from 3-point range. Northern Iowa also burned the Hawkeyes from 3-point range on Tuesday, making 11-of-21 attempts during an 80-60 victory.

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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