Nov. 6, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa men's basketball team showed off the depth head coach Fran McCaffery has been raving about, using 12 players in a 79-59 exhibition victory over Northwest Missouri State on Sunday afternoon on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
It wasn't always easy. The Bearcats trailed by five points early in the second half and by nine points with around 12 minutes remaining before Iowa used a push to pull away.
"We knew this game wasn't going to be an easy game when we scheduled it, but that's what I wanted for this team," said McCaffery, who is in his second season in Iowa City. "I wanted us to be challenged, and we were in every way."
The Hawkeyes shot 48 percent (24-50) from the floor, while limiting the Bearcats to 35.5 percent (22-62) shooting and Iowa won the rebounding battle, 40-34. Iowa made 25-of-31 free throw attempts, while Northwest went 12-of-21.
"You could see today if some guys got tired, myself included, there is someone to come in and pick up the energy," said junior Eric May, who finished with nine points, seven rebounds and four assists. "That was huge because we needed it at points to have guys come in and pick up the energy."
The Hawkeyes used a 9-0 run early in the second half to turn five point advantage into a 50-36 lead. Freshman Aaron White opened the spurt with a baseline dunk before Cartwright's finger roll layup made the score 45-36. Gatens followed with a 3-pointer and two free throws to push the margin to 14.
The Bearcats cut their deficit to 53-44 on a Grant Cozad layup at the 11:46 mark, but Northwest could only muster two points against the UI defense over the next six minutes as the Hawkeyes pulled away. Iowa mixed up its defense, employing full court presses and various traps throughout the game.
"We're going to press, I said that when I got here," said McCaffery. "We didn't have the depth to play that way like we did today. We'll do a lot more of that."
A Devon Archie two-handed dunk at the 6:49 mark made the score 62-46, and Iowa pushed its lead to 20 (71-51) on back-to-back field goals by May. The lead swelled to 22 (76-54) on Gabriel Olaseni's layup at the two minute mark, before Iowa went on to claim the 79-59 victory.
In the first half, Josh Oglesby's 3-pointer gave the Hawkeyes the 15-7 lead at the 11:33 mark, but the Bearcats answered with a long ball from DeAngelo Hailey and Dillon Starzl had a pair of baskets to cut the margin to 15-14 with 9:25 to play.
Iowa stretched its lead back to six (23-17) behind five straight points from Cartwright, but Northwest continued hanging around, cutting its deficit to a field goal (23-21) with five minutes remaining in half.
Iowa extended its defense to full court and it paid off, forcing the Bearcats into a timeout and a turnover. The Hawkeyes then closed out the first half strong, using a 6-0 run to take a 37-28 lead into the break. Iowa limited Northwest to 28.6 percent shooting (10-of-35) in the first half and outrebounded the Bearcats, 23-20.
The Hawkeyes open the regular season Nov. 11, hosting Chicago State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena beginning at 7 p.m.