Prime Time semis ready to tip

BY SEAN MORGAN | JULY 22, 2009 7:15 AM

The top four teams in the Prime Time League are ready to square off tonight in the league’s semifinals.

Game One will showcase Darryl Moore, Anthony Tucker and No. 3 Vinton Merchants against reigning league MVP Matt Gatens and No. 2 Jill Armstrong/Lepic-Kroeger Realtors at 6 p.m.
The second contest in this evening’s double-header will feature No. 5 Imprinted Sportswear/Goodfellow Printing, led by Iowa sophomore Aaron Fuller and incoming Hawkeye freshman Cully Payne, facing the league’s best team thus far, No. 1 Culver’s of Coralville, and the Northern Iowa one-two punch of Adam Koch and Ali Farokhmanesh.

Payne knows he will need to perfect certain aspects of his game before Imprinted/Goodfellow’s contest.

“I need to lower my number of turnovers,” he said. “Really, just get stronger. I need to become a better all-around athlete.”

Helping Payne in his mission will be the low-post dominance of Fuller and ex-Northern Iowa star Eric Coleman. Fuller pulled down 21 rebounds in Monday’s 81-79 win over Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurry’s, and Coleman is a threatening presence for any would-be shooter.

“He’s the greatest shot-blocker in Missouri Valley Conference history,” Gatens/McCurry’s head coach Randy Larson said.

Another Iowa guard looking to pilot his team to victory against a higher seed, Tucker said he needs to take a less selfish approach to his game in order beat Gatens and company and move on to the championship game.

“Instead of trying to create shots for myself, I want to work on spreading the ball around,” the Hawkeye sophomore said. “I want to work on distributing the ball.”

Tucker, who finished Monday’s first round victory over L.L. Pelling Company/Iowa City Ready Mix with 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, said he isn’t afraid to go against last year’s top Prime Time League player and defending champion Gatens, who is also his roommate at Iowa.

“We’ve gone against each other so many times at practice,” Tucker said. “Also, we’ve beaten them a couple times before, so I like how we match up against them.”

One of the players Tucker will be looking to spread the ball to is the former Hawkeye Moore, who judging by his 27-point, eight-rebound, 5-of-8 from beyond-the-arc performance on Monday, looks like he could suite up for Iowa this season, even though the Chicago native hasn’t worn the Black and Gold since 1998.

The winners of tonight’s games will meet for the league championship on July 27.

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