Iowa basketball player Eric May talked the talk during the week and then backed it up Sunday in the Prime Time League playoffs.
Even though his PTL team was winless during the regular season, May still made a bold prediction to his Iowa teammates that he played against Sunday.
“I’m like, ‘We’re going to win this game,’” said May, who finished with a game-high 24 points, highlighted by two rim-rattling dunks. “We told them that all week.
“We knew we were going to get it. We were due.”
The 6-foot-5 May had plenty of help in making his prediction come true with five players from his Culver’s/Iowa City Ready Mix team scoring at least 10 points.
Iowa sophomore-to-be forward Aaron White finished with 22 points and eight rebounds and now will compete for his second consecutive PTL title Tuesday.
White sank a running one-handed scoop shot at the buzzer to give his team a 100-99 victory in the PTL title game last summer.
“No one remembers what happens during the regular season,” White said. “We’re playing on Tuesday. And I won this thing last year, and I want to win it again.”
White and his cohorts will face the team led by incoming Iowa freshman point guard Mike Gesell and Iowa junior forward Melsahn Basabe for the PTL title Tuesday. Basabe scored 34 points and grabbed 19 rebounds and Gesell finished with 14 points, 12 assists and six rebounds to lead Jill Armstrong of Skogman Realty to a 99-93 victory over L.L. Pelling/McCurry’s in the other playoff game Sunday.
Iowa sophomore center Gabe Olaseni led the losing team with 31 points on 14-of-22 shooting from the field.
It was apparent throughout the first game Sunday, which was played before another capacity crowd at the North Liberty Community Center, that winning was important to the teams.
Players repeatedly dove to the floor for loose balls, they took charges on defense and they worked the ball around on offense.
Things even got chippy at times on the court, despite the connection with the Iowa players.
Incoming Iowa freshman point guard Anthony Clemmons plays on the same PTL team with May and White, whereas their opponent Sunday featured current Iowa players Zach McCabe and Josh Oglesby and future Hawkeyes Adam Woodbury and Jarrod Uthoff.
“You may as well try and win it,” said White, who made the Big Ten all-Freshmen team last season.
“And tempers got a little hot there because everyone wants to win. We don’t want to stop playing.
“You always want to play the last game possible, and that’s what we’re doing in a summer league. It’s small, but it’s fun to me.”
The spectators cheered for the two teams, but Clemmons said the crowd was more on his team’s side because of their record.
“We came in as the underdog, so we had a lot of people rooting for us,” said Clemmons, who finished with 14 points, five rebounds and two assists.
The 7-1 Woodbury figured emotions would run high during Sunday’s game because the Iowa players had talked about it throughout the week.
“You want to win,” Woodbury said.
“Every night during workouts people are talking about it. You don’t have bragging rights with everybody because it didn’t happen.”
Woodbury led his team with 20 points while making 10-of-14 field-goal attempts. He also had five rebounds but missed his only two free-throw attempts.
Woodbury also struggled to make free throws in high school, shooting less than 50 percent from the line as a senior.
“I’ve put a lot a work in the gym on them,” Woodbury said about free-throw shooting. “Those two didn’t fall, but last week I went two-for-three (from the free-throw line).
“So it’s going to come. I need more practice in the gym, and I’m going to feel more confident with it, and everything is going to come together.”
Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball