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IOWA CITY, Ia. — Anthony Clemmons wasn’t a Top100 national prospect as a senior at Sexton High School in Lansing, Mich.
“I always feel like I’ve got something to prove, coming in underrated and under the radar,” said Iowa’s starting freshman point guard.
Clemmons has a bright-light opportunity today. He’ll be matched up against Iowa State fifth-year senior Korie Lucious when Iowa hosts the Cyclones at 7p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“Whenever you go against one of the nation’s top guards, it’s always a challenge,” Clemmons said.
The point-guard duel is one of several factors that will determine whether or not Iowa State wins an unprecedented fourth straight game in the series. Iowa must limit the Cyclones in one of their strengths, rebounding, and slow down the Big12’s highest-scoring team.
Lucious had Final Four experience and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances under his belt when he left Michigan State to use his final season of eligibility at Iowa State. Clemmons has three Michigan ClassB state titles to his credit.
Clemmons attended several Michigan State games at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich., when Lucious was playing.
“It’s pretty funny, now that I know I’m going against him,” said Clemmons, who will get some help at the point from fellow freshman Mike Gesell. “I never knew I would be. He’s a real crafty guy, real quick, real smart, a very capable shooter. He made a lot of plays at Michigan State as they made their run to the NCAA Tournament and the Final Four. I’m looking forward to it.”
Clemmons knows Lucious has the edge in experience.
“My job is to defend him, keep him under his average (9.4 points a game), play solid
defense and keep him out of his rhythm,” Clemmons said.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery is anxious to see how his rookie does on a big stage.
“That's what the process is,” McCaffery said. “That's what we have to look forward to. How does he respond? If he does well, great. If he doesn't do well, what do you learn? If he does well, you’ve still got to keep working.”
Plenty of good Big Ten point guards loom on the horizon.
“This is a great indicator, I think, of where we’re headed with him,” McCaffery said.
McCaffery calls Iowa State’s leading scorer, Will Clyburn, “a guy who is probably going to play in the NBA.”
The Iowa coach also said that rebounding will likely be the most critical factor in the game. Iowa State is sixth nationally in rebounding margin at plus-11.6.
“They tend to limit you to one (rebound) and (they) get more than one,” McCaffery said.
“It makes it hard to win if you’re playing with those kinds of odds.”
FRIDAY'S IOWA STATE-IOWA MEN’S GAME
WHO: Iowa State (6-2) at Iowa (7-2)
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
TIPOFF: 7 p.m.
TICKETS: $27 adults, $15 youth (18-under) and UI students.
TELEVISION: Big Ten Network
RADIO: 1040 AM, 100.3 FM
STAT LEADERS: For Iowa State — Will Clyburn 16.1 ppg; Melvin Ejim 9.3 rpg; Korie Lucious 5.3 apg; for Iowa — Devyn Marble 14.4 ppg; Aaron White 6.4 rpg; Marble 3.4 apg.
ABOUT THE CYCLONES: Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg is 5-1 against Iowa as a player and coach.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES: Devyn Marble is the only Iowa player to score in double figures in all nine games this season.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Iowa was outrebounded in both of its losses, to Wichita State (38-30) and Virginia Tech (36-30). Iowa State is third nationally in rebounds per game (45.6) and sixth in rebound margin at plus-11.6. The Cyclones have outrebounded all eight of their opponents.
— Rick Brown
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball