IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery had a lot on his mind as he left Wells Fargo Arena, family in tow, after Sunday’s one-sided loss to Creighton in Des Moines.
The play of sophomore forward Melsahn Basabe was one of his chief concerns.
“We’ve got to get Melsahn going,” McCaffery said. “We will.”
Basabe managed just two points, three rebounds and four fouls in the 82-59 loss. Only once in his 35-game college career had Basabe, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward, been held down like that offensively. He failed to score in a victory against Alabama last season at the Paradise Jam. It was just the 11th time he’s been limited to three rebounds or less.
Iowa hosts Campbell (4-0) Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. McCaffery said Wednesday that it’s time for Basabe to go back to doing what he does well.
“Obviously he wants to expand his game, he wants to do more things,” McCaffery said. “But sometimes, in working on those things, you forget about doing the things you’ve always done well.”
And one of those is rebounding. Basabe led the Hawkeyes in rebounding last season, averaging 6.8 a game to go with 11 points. He’s averaging 9.8 points and 5.0 rebounds this season.
“He’s got to get back to getting five or six offensive rebounds, and 10, 11 or 12 rebounds every night,” McCaffery said. “ When he does that he’ll have putbacks, he’ll get fouled more and his point numbers will go up.”
McCaffery has preached fundamentals over flashy to Basabe.
“In the post I think he’s trying to get a little too fancy, and he’s trying to make too many moves,” McCaffery said.
Basabe didn’t stand alone in his subpar performance Sunday. Combined with Devyn Marble and Zach McCabe, the three sophomores finished with four points and six rebounds. The three had averaged 28.6 points and 13 rebounds over the first three games.
“Zach and Marble both played with the kind of energy they need to play with, but they didn’t get a lot of success going to the basket,” McCaffery said. “Those three guys are critical to our team.”
Getting Basabe back in the groove is high on the coach’s to-do list.
“In many respects it’s back to the basics with him,” McCaffery said. “He’ll get it figured out. We’ll get it figured out with him and he’ll be better.”
Rick Brown will send updates from the game to his Twitter account. @RickBrownDMR
WHO: Campbell (4-0) at Iowa (3-1)
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City.
TIPOFF: 7 p.m.
TICKETS: $12, $5 students/18-under.
RADIO: WHO-AM (1040), Des Moines and Hawkeye Radio Network.
STAT LEADERS: For Campbell: Darren White 20.0 ppg; Eric Griffin 8.3 rpg; Rico Ferguson 4.5 apg; for Iowa: Matt Gatens 15.5 ppg; Aaron White 5.3 rpg; Bryce Cartwright 5.0 apg.
ABOUT THE CAMELS: Campbell is 4-0 for the first time since the 1987-88 season.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES: Josh Oglesby is the first Iowa reserve to lead the team in scoring in back-to-back games since Ricky Davis in 1998.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Iowa is 5-0 under coach Fran McCaffery when scoring 80 points or more.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball