IOWA CITY, Ia. – Melsahn Basabe was red hot Saturday, scoring the last 13 points in Iowa’s 20-0 first-half run. Earn-a-nickname hot.
“So many warming agents out there,” Devyn Marble said after the Hawkeyes’ 88-59
victory against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi before an announced Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd of 12,628. “I guess you could say “Toaster.” Call him that.”
Basabe, who finished with a team-high 17 points as Iowa improved to 6-2, didn’t mind the new nickname.
“Marble said that?” Basabe said. “Did he really say that? I like it. That’s my man.”
Basabe’s one-man 13-point salvo came in just 2 minutes 42 seconds, nearly doubling the 7.1 scoring average he brought into the game.
“He was aggressive, and that’s what we need him to be,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “I don’t think he’s been aggressive in recent weeks, and it’s great to see. He was alert. He was on the glass and driving to the basket, he was running the floor. When he’s playing like that, we’re a better team.”
Basabe had scored in double figures just once in Iowa’s first seven games. He was seven-for-eight from the f
ree-throw line and five-for-six from the field Saturday.
“I came into this game knowing I needed to work on stuff to build my confidence,” Basabe said. “I needed to get something going, because we’ve got a lot of big games coming up. I didn’t overthink or do anything special. I just did what I’m capable of doing.”
McCaffery adjusted his starting lineup for the first time this season, inserting freshman Anthony Clemmons in place of forward Zach McCabe. With guard Mike Gesell and center Adam Woodbury already in the first five, Iowa started three freshmen in a game for the first time since Aaron Fuller, Anthony Tucker and Matt Gatens started at Boston College on Dec. 2, 2008.
“I felt like Zach would benefit from coming off the bench,” McCaffery said. “I though he was pressing a little bit. I did it more for Zach than I did it for Anthony.”
Clemmons started at point guard, Gesell moved over to second guard and Marble to the small forward spot.
Marble scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, including three 3-pointers in as many tries. Woodbury made his presence felt early,opening the game’s scoring with a left-handed jump hook and adding a right-handed bank shortly after. He finished with a career-high 13 points and tied Marble and Basabe with a team-high five rebounds.
It was a tough game for sophomore forward Aaron White, Iowa’s leading scorer and second-leading rebounder. He had six points and two rebounds in 11 minutes. He got a technical foul late in the first half that also counted as his third personal.
“He said something he shouldn’t have said,” said McCaffery, who didn’t start White in the second half.
Basabe’s personal 13-point run started with a basket at the 10:09 mark in the first half. He was also fouled on the play and missed the free throw, but he made seven straight from the line after that. The final trip to the stripe came when he was fouled on a made basket. That gave him 13 Iowa points in a row.
“He and Woody were cooking,” Marble said. “You just keep giving it to them until they miss.”
McCaffery finally did what the Islanders couldn’t. He silenced Basabe by taking him out of the game for a breather.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball