May has hot hand in Prime Time win

BY TRAVIS VARNER | JUNE 23, 2009 7:21 AM

Iowa incoming freshman Eric May dominated the floor Monday, leading his Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurry’s team over Iowa teammate Anthony Tucker’s Vinton Merchants squad, 104-86.

May was virtually unstoppable, slashing his way through every defensive scheme he faced. Shooting the ball with flawless precision, he only missed four shots on his way to scoring a game-high 26 points.

Gatens/McCurry’s head coach Randy Larson is pleased with May’s effort, poise, and dedication. Larson said he thinks the combination of May’s shooting and awareness on the floor can lead to him having an immediate effect for Iowa this winter.

“I thought Eric May for an incoming freshman really showed that he has dedicated himself to both ends of the court,” Larson said. “Eric is a good enough outside shooter that you got to guard that. Once he sets up that drive with that shot, he’s a handful driver because he’s so strong, and he’s going to stop and make the pass in there, too.”

May’s talent and athleticism is bringing comparisons with Iowa teammate Matt Gatens. They possess similar shooting and driving skills, and both guards play hard every minute.

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May said he is honored to be compared with Gatens for many reasons, but he feels the comparisons may be premature because he needs to work on his outside shooting.

“Matt’s really a composed player. I hope [my talent] is like his — that’ll be a compliment if it’s like his,” May said. “He can shoot better … I’m not going to be able to keep driving all the time; it’s the Big Ten, and the competition gets bigger, and all the guys are getting tougher.”

There wasn’t much competition for Gatens/McCurry’s and it was over almost before it started. The game was only tied once, in the first minute at 2-2. Gatens/McCurry’s stormed off with 11-straight points and ended up with a 66-36 halftime advantage.

Vinton looked flat on the court, forcing up quick shots and committing too many turnovers. The players spent most of the first half backpedaling, trying to get back on defense — the Gatens/McCurry’s team dominated the time of possession and just looked better.

Ray Swetalla, the Vinton head coach, was disgusted with his team’s performance because the players didn’t communicate well on defense. Vinton got beat by the various match-up problems the Gatens/McCurrys’ team had, especially at the guards.

“May was really a matchup problem — they just cleared out and let him play one-on-one,” Swetalla said. “Our help and recover was nonexistent — we didn’t talk. Defensively, we had no communication and didn’t understand who we were guarding. Just a disastrous summer-league defensive effort.”

The team’s effort noticeably picked up in the second half despite the large deficit. Vinton slowly chopped the lead to 18 points with help from Iowa incoming freshman Brennan Cougill, who contributed a team-high 24 points in defeat. Tucker was displeased and disappointed in the outcome of the game, but he liked the fight and the heart the team exhibited after the break.

“Nobody wants to get beat that bad,” he said. “We were down by 35; it was kind of embarrassing, so we just wanted to play hard in the second half.”

Iowa redshirt freshman and Gatens/McCurrys’ guard John Lickliter didn’t play Monday night because of a sprained ankle, but he is expected to return next week.

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