Men's basketball smacks Illinois-Springfield


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Fran McCaffery's first game as Iowa's head coach won't show up in any stat lines once the season is over.

It's a shame — there would be some pretty good numbers.

The Iowa men's basketball team picked apart Illinois-Springfield in an exhibition game Sunday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, racing to a 111-66 win.

The victory marks the first time the Hawkeyes have scored 100 or more points since 2006.

"I can't promise 111 [points] every game, but we're going to try," McCaffery said. "When you're playing up-tempo, you have good players taking shots in rhythm in their range."

Twelve different Hawkeyes contributed scoring in the onslaught, led by sophomore Eric May's game-high 21. The forward from Dubuque rolled in the first half, scorching the Prairie Stars for 17 points and Iowa's first dunk of the game.

Perhaps the best all-around performance belonged to freshman Melsahn Basabe, though. The Glen Cove, N.Y., native started at a position the 6-8, 225-pound player wasn't necessarily accustomed to and finished with 19 points and eight rebounds.

"I was really nervous before the game," Basabe said. "I was excited. I was in a new position, so I was anxious, but I was just happy to play basketball. It's what I've been doing all my life."

Iowa looked perfectly comfortable playing McCaffery's new, fast-paced offense and led the Prairie Stars, 57-27, at halftime. The 57 first-half points tied or beat the Hawkeyes' total outputs from 15 entire games last year.

The second half was a similar story, and the crowd of 9,050 erupted when junior point guard Bryce Cartwright drove the baseline to put the Hawkeyes over the century mark with four minutes left.

"I felt good," Cartwright said about his 12-point, five-assist night. "I came in with a mentality to attack and get everybody the ball. That was my goal from the beginning."

Cartwright and fellow point guard Cully Payne combined for 15 assists and just two turnovers, and McCaffery said he was pleased with his guards' decision-making.

"I thought for the most part, it was efficient," McCaffery said. "We got points. We got the ball to the right people. Again, I think unless you're counting on one particular guard to be a big scorer, what you're looking for your guards to do is engineer victory. That's what they did."

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