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Gatens rekindles memories of Recker against Indiana

[ 2 ] February 19, 2012 |


Former Hawkeye (and Hoosier) Luke Recker

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Matt Gatens doesn’t recall the game.

“Doesn’t stick out in my mind,” Gatens said. “But I’m sure I was here.”

On Jan. 27, 2001, Iowa trailed Indiana at halftime, 43-26. Carver-Hawkeye Arena had little to celebrate.

Luke Recker, who started his career at Indiana before transferring to Iowa, had 10 first-half points but made just 3-of-7 shots from the field.

But Recker got off to a fast second-half start, and carried Iowa to a 71-66 victory. Recker made 3-of-6 3-pointers in the second half, and scored 17 of his 27 points.

Gatens outdid Recker Sunday, scoring 22 of his career-high 30 points in the second half of Iowa’s 78-66 victory. Gatens was a perfect 6-for-6 from 3 the second half.

“The funny thing is I saw Luke right before the game,” Gatens said. “He had a coat on. I asked, “What color are you wearing under there?’ He said, “I have my Hawkeye black and gold on.’ ”

Iowa’s 2011-12 season has been a case study in one step forward, two steps back. But progress is evident in Fran McCaffery’s second season.

The Hawkeyes are now 14-13 overall, the most wins since Todd Lickliter’s second Iowa team finished 15-17. Iowa’s six conference victories are the most since  Lickliter’s first Iowa team went 6-12 in 2007-08.

Iowa’s two games with Indiana reflect this season’s ebb and flow.

Iowa lost at Indiana, 103-89. The Hoosiers outrebounded Iowa in that game, 37-22. Indiana had 20 offensive rebounds, Iowa 15 defensive rebounds. Indiana had a 23-11 advantage in second-chance points.

On Sunday, Iowa outrebounded Indiana, 41-35. That included 16 offensive rebounds for the Hawkeyes, three each by Melsahn Basabe, Devyn Marble and Aaron White. Iowa had a 19-8 advantage in second-chance points. White had a team-best 10 rebounds for the Hawkeyes to go with eight points. The freshman, the team’s leading rebounder, He’s had at least nine rebounds in four straight games.

The Hawkeyes were also significantly better at stopping the dribble-drive Sunday, and making life tough for Hoosier freshman sensation Cody Zeller. He scored a career-high 26 points in the first meeting. Zeller was limited to 15 points, to go with 13 rebounds. Zeller had seven of Indiana’s 11 dunks in the first meeting. Zeller had Indiana’s only dunk Sunday.

The thing that made Sunday’s victory so rewarding to McCaffery was the fact that everyone he used contributed to the victory. That included walk-ons Darius Stokes and Branden Stubbs.

Stubbs knew he would play, with point guard Bryce Cartwright sidelined for the second straight game with a high ankle sprain.

“He (McCaffery) let me know before the game,” said Stubbs, a sophomore who played at Des Moines Christian. “I was trying to get ready for it.”

And now Stubbs, who played 2 minutes in the first half, can always say he had a part in a victory over a rated team.

“It was a great team effort, and we played a lot better defense than we did the last time,” Stubbs said.

Another sophomore, Darius Stokes from Linn-Mar,played 5 minutes. He had a rebound and basket in 5 minutes.

“We’ve had issues at the defensive end of the floor all year long,” McCaffery said. “I’ve challenged them in a variety of ways and every time we have faltered. The thing that made this win special for us is that we needed everybody. How great was Darius Stokes? He plays 5 minutes, gets a rebound and then a tip-in and played great defense and played with great energy. Branden Stubbs was on fire, Andrew Brommer with the tip dunk. (Devon) Archie is in for one minute and gets two rebounds.”

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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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