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Harty: Hawks deliver stunning beat down

[ 0 ] December 9, 2013 |

The question that begs to be asked in the wake of the Iowa men’s basketball team’s dismantling of Fairleigh Dickinson on Monday is how did Rutgers and Seton Hall both lose to the lowly Knights?

Iowa could play Fairleigh Dickinson 500 times and anything worse than a 500-0 record would be fairly ridiculous.

Monday’s game had the potential to be a trap game, or so it was suggested afterward, with Iowa coming off a victory over Drake on Saturday and with Iowa State looming on the schedule. It took only a matter of minutes to realize that Fairleigh Dickinson didn’t have enough firepower to shock the college basketball world.

Trailing 6-0, the Hawkeyes answered with a 19-0 scoring run and the beat down was on at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It finally ended with Iowa victorious by a 92-59 score, improving to 10-1 on the season.

“This is Division I basketball so you can’t overlook any opponent,” said Iowa senior forward Melsahn Basabe, who recorded his first double-double this season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. “You see teams all the time get upset by teams that everyone thought they should have beaten.

“… We don’t have an attitude where we think a team is beneath us. Every team we play we want to respect them. And we want to respect ourselves by playing a good brand of basketball.”

Basabe was one of three Iowa players to record a double-double in scoring and rebounding in Monday’s game, along with junior center Gabe Olaseni and sophomore forward Jarrod Uthoff. That hasn’t happened since 1993.

Up next for 23rd-ranked Iowa on Friday is perhaps is the most anticipated game against Iowa State in a quarter century. The 17th-ranked Cyclones are undefeated this season, and the game will be played at Hilton Coliseum in Ames where visiting teams often wilt under the pressure.

Both teams for the most part have taken care of business up to this point. Iowa stumbled once again Villanova at the Battle 4 Atlantis, but that’s hardly the same as Rutgers and Seton Hall losing to Fairleigh Dickinson, which fell to 3-9 on the season.

“Very pleased with where we are,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said after Monday’s victory, which improved his record to 64-51 at Iowa. “But we still have a lot of work to do.”

The same could be said for Iowa State, which had to overcome an 18-point deficit to defeat Northern Iowa on Saturday at the Big 4 Classic in Des Moines. Falling behind by such a wide margin is cause for concern if you’re Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, but the manner in which the Cyclones stormed back is cause for concern if you’re McCaffery.

“The thing about Iowa State that impressed me Saturday was that comeback,” McCaffery said. “Any time a team comes back, you say, ‘Wow, that was impressive.’

“To me, it was the way they did it. When you’re down by 18 (points) with less than 16 (minutes) to go, that is often panic time. They didn’t panic at all.”

As for Monday’s mismatch, it was more about staying healthy and staying ahead by a wide enough margin to avoid questions about a letdown.

Iowa might have suffered a letdown Monday, but we just couldn’t see the effects from it because of the mismatch on the court.

In fairness to the Knights, they prevailed at Rutgers, which is set to join the Big Ten Conference next season. It just shows that more isn’t always better.

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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