The comfort of home combined with an overmatched opponent is just what the Iowa men’s basketball team needed to get back on the winning track.
Iowa scored 20 consecutive points during one stretch in the first half and then coasted to an 88-59 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Junior forward Melsahn Basabe came off the bench to score 15 of his game-high 17 points in the first half, including 13 in a row during the 20-0 scoring run.
“I really came into today really wanting to play hard,” Basabe said. “I didn’t consider this game as, ‘OK, we’re going to come in and coast.’
“That’s not how I came into the game. I came into the game knowing I need to work on stuff and build my confidence and get something going because now we’ve got a lot of big games coming up.”
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for Iowa and improved its record to 6-2 heading into Tuesday’s game against South Dakota at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Basabe made all but one of his six field-goal attempts and was among four Iowa players to score in double figures.
Freshman center Adam Woodbury also made 5-of-6 field-goal attempts and finished with a career-high 13 points. The 7-foot-1 Woodbury scored in a variety of ways, including making a hook shot from the baseline using his right hand.
Woodbury, who shoots left-handed, also made all but one of his four free-throw attempts Saturday. He struggled as a free-throw shooter in high school.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym,” Woodbury said. “I’ve been working real hard with the coaches, and they’ve been real supportive of me.
“I shoot (free throws) every day in practice. And I think it’s been showing.”
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery shuffled his starting line for the first time this season, inserting freshman point guard Anthony Clemmons for junior forward Zach McCabe.
It marked the first time that three freshmen have started for Iowa since Matt Gatens, Anthony Tucker and Aaron Fuller did it against Boston College in 2008 under former coach Todd Lickliter.
Clemmons struggled at times early in the game, but he still finished with five assists and one turnover while playing 21 minutes.
“He was a little nervous,” McCaffery said of Clemmons. “He had jitters at the start. He settled down. I thought he played good in the second half.”
McCaffery said he inserted Clemmons for McCabe because he thought McCabe had been pressing at times. McCabe came off the bench to score seven points in 12 minutes.
“I felt like Zach would benefit from coming off the bench,” McCaffery said. “I probably did it more for Zach than Anthony.”
Iowa dominated the first half and led 44-23 at halftime despite getting little contributions from junior guard Devyn Marble or sophomore forward Aaron White, the team’s top two scorers. Marble only scored two points in the first half but still finished with 15, whereas White never got on track, scoring four points in the first half and just two in the second half.
White also was called for a technical foul late in the first half.
“He said something he shouldn’t have said,” McCaffery said.
White started the second half on the bench, but McCaffery said it was only because White had three fouls.
Marble said his team’s performance in the first half showed that Iowa can be effective on offense even without him and White making significant contributions. McCaffery has used an 11-man rotation throughout the young season.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can score,” Marble said. “There are going to be nights like that when me and Whitey might not have as many points, but we’ll still be ahead down the stretch.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball