Dec. 17, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa men's basketball team needed a win Saturday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena and got one, a 82-68 victory over the visiting Drake Bulldogs thanks to strong defense, solid offense and nice contributions from its bench.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak to intrastate state rivals and extended to three the Hawkeyes' winning streak over the Bulldogs. The victory also pushed Iowa to 6-5 in 2011-12 while dropping Drake to 6-4.
Iowa forced 19 Drake turnovers including 12 when the home team took control of the game. The Hawkeyes also collected 12 steals and six blocked shots.
Fran McCaffery's offense featured five double-digit scorers paced by senior Matt Gatens, who totaled 20 and added six rebounds, three steals and a pair of assists. Bryce Cartwright was perfect on all eight of his attempts from the charity stripe and completed the contest with 12 points and, more importantly, 27 healthy minutes of court time.
"It was good to see him. I didn't see him favoring anything. I didn't see him struggling with fatigue," McCaffery said of his point guard, Cartwright, who has been hobbled lately with a sore hamstring.
"It's not easy when you're running clock and then trying to run a set at the end of the clock and then protect the lead. So a couple of times it looked like he was out of sync and over dribbling. That's the difficult situation we put him in. I thought for the most part he executed ourself and got to the free throw line and went 8 for 8. I'm really proud of him."
Devyn Marble, Melsahn Basabe and Aaron White all scored 10 points. Iowa's bench contributed 31 points to the victory. "Yeah, that's the kind of team I think we can be. Five guys in double figures. One guy with eight. Three other guys scoring. Makes us harder to prepare for, and it gives me flexibility depending upon what kind of game it is. And that game had kind of a unique flow to it," McCaffery said.
"They brought a lot of energy and we're going to need that," Gatens said of the Hawkeye non-starters. "For us to be successful, we're going to need contributions from everyone every night. It was good tonight."
Drake's Rayvonte Rice led all scorers with 23 points.
Iowa shot an even 50 percent from the field. Drake used some late-game success to climb to 42 percent after spending most of the game struggling on offense. The Bulldogs won the battle of the boards, 33-32.
Iowa forced five Bulldog turnovers during a 22-8 run in the first half's 14 minutes to race to a 44-30 lead at intermission. The Hawkeye bench played a big role in Iowa's fast start. White scored nine points, grabbed five rebounds and had assist and a blocked shot. Josh Oglesby added five points, pair of rebounds and two steals.
Drake did have a pair of opportunities to get the game to single-digits during the game's final 10 minutes, but was turned away by and Iowa determined Iowa defense.
Iowa's attention now turns to a date with Central Arkansas Monday night in Carver. A member of the Southland Conference, the Bears will bring a 5-4 record to Iowa City after having a five-game winning streak snapped by intrastate rival Arkansas State on Dec. 10.
After that one, Iowa entertains Boise State on Thursday before turning their attention to the 2012 Big Ten Conference opener on Dec. 28.
"This is the time of year when you feel like a pro. Classes are behind us, so we get to work a little more on our game and watch a little more film and get ready for the upcoming games and conference play. It's a fun time of year," said Gatens.
The contest is also the next bobblehead giveaway game on the Hawkeyes' 2011-12 schedule. Monday's featured student-athlete is Devon Archie. The first 1,000 fans through the doors of Carver will receive a free bobblehead of the senior center from Indianapolis.