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Iowa's youthful starters keep their cool against Iowa State, snap Cy-Hawk series slide

[ 0 ] December 8, 2012 |

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IOWA CITY, Ia. – Even though Anthony Clemmons was about to play in his first big-stage college basketball game, Iowa’s freshman point guard didn’t change his routine.

He listened to Rick Ross music on his headphones, and drank ice water. Lots of ice water.

“I drink up so I don’t get fatigued,” said Clemmons, who followed the same pregame ritual at Sexton High School in Lansing, Mich.

Going head-to-head with fifth-year senior Korie Lucious, Clemmons scored a career-high 14 points, matched his career best with eight assists and turned it over just once in the Hawkeyes’ 80-71 victory over Iowa State before a rocking Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd of 15,127.

“He’s good as a freshman,” Lucious said. “He’s only going to get better as the years go on. He played a great game.”

Clemmons was one of Iowa’s three freshman starters in a game that featured that youth against the Cyclones’ experience. Mike Gesell bounced back from a rocky first half with 11 points, five rebounds, three steals and three assists that made up for three turnovers.

Center Adam Woodbury had nine points and five rebounds.

“Those guys were tremendous,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Clemmons was terrific. Gesell did a great job of controlling the game and getting to the glass. I thought Woodbury played very well.”

Aaron White led the Hawkeyes (8-2) with 18 points and seven rebounds on a night where the rookies stole the spotlight.

“All three of them didn’t let the stage affect them,” White said. “That’s why they’re here. They m

ake big plays in big games. It’s impressive.”

Lucious led Iowa State with 14 points and seven assists. But he also had seven of the Cyclones’ 19 turnovers. Percy Gibson also had 14 points, and Chris Babb and Georges Niang added 13 each. Niang, a freshman who picked Iowa State over Iowa, didn’t score in the second half.

Will Clyburn, the Cyclones’ leading scorer at 16.1 points a game, was blanked in 24 minutes. Devyn Marble had the defensive assignment.

“I got up into him and tried to make sure he wasn’t comfortable,” Marble said. “The environment didn’t help him, either.”

Gesell and Woodbury were both Top 100 national recruits last season. Clemmons, who played on a Michigan prep powerhouse, wasn’t. In fact, it took five or six eyeball evaluations by Iowa coach Fran McCaffery before he offered a scholarship.

“Recruiting is not an exact science, by any means,” McCaffery said.

Clemmons said he entered Friday’s game with no fear.

“There are times when you’ve got to come out and outplay somebody,” Clemmons said. “If he was pushing the ball, I wanted to push it harder. If he was doing something good, I wanted to do it better. That was my mindset.”

Iowa became the first team this season to outrebound the Cyclones, 37-35. Iowa State fell to 6-3. Hoiberg’s team has scored at least 82 points in its seven wins while failing to eclipse 71 in their three losses. The Hawkeyes’ defense had something to do with that Friday.

“It's the best game we've played, yeah,” McCaffery said.

For Woodbury, his first Iowa-Iowa State game is something he’ll cherish.

“I’ve been a Hawkeye fan my whole life,” said Woodbury, who is from Sioux City. “I remember these games. They were huge in my household as well. To represent the Hawkeyes the way we did (Friday is something special. Something I’ll never forget.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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