Men's hoops beats Idaho State behind Cartwright's 15 points, eight assists


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The Iowa men's basketball team again started slowly in the second half and let its opponent back in the game on Dec. 4, but the Hawkeyes were able to maintain the lead and ultimately beat Idaho State, 70-53.

It was similar to the team's previous game against Wake Forest, in which the Hawkeyes had a 12-point halftime lead, then lost.

Dec. 4 was different in that Iowa (4-4) was able to build a near-insurmountable 26-point first half lead, sparked by a 17-2 run to begin the game. After that, it seemed the Bengals (2-4) didn't have a chance.

But Idaho State had solid free-throw shooting from a number of players — making 18-of-20 on the day — and the team from Pocatello, Idaho, found itself down just seven with 4:48 left in regulation.
After that, though, Iowa didn't let the Bengals score again.

"When things get going, you can always play defense," Iowa forward Melsahn Basabe said. "You might not always make jump shots or dunks or highlight plays … If you're going to win, you've got to make the tough plays."

Iowa's head coach Fran McCaffery had similar ideas, and he was happy that his team forced 23 turnovers against its opponent.

"The disconcerting thing for us is how we played at the end of the first half and how we played at the start of the second half," he said. "Fortunately, we made enough plays defensively."

The shots did fall for Iowa in the first half as the squad continued its solid play on the fast break to build its big lead. The Hawkeyes had 22 points in transition, thanks to quick outlet passes and a number of nice dishes from junior Bryce Cartwright.

With Iowa's only other true point guard — Cully Payne — out indefinitely, Cartwright played arguably his best game of the year, garnering 15 points and eight assists. All of this came while guarding Idaho State's leading scorer Broderick Gilchrest and holding him to 14 points.

Cartwright himself struggled at Wake Forest by getting in some early foul trouble, but he did well to turn around and dominate Idaho State.

The Compton, Calif., native said Dec. 4 was an example of his progress as a player. Having been to three schools in three years, he attributes the Iowa coaching staff with finally meshing all parts of his game to make a total player.

"[Iowa's coaches have helped me in] putting it together, in one sense," Cartwright said. "Putting together a complete game. Earlier [in my career] it was probably one-sided, maybe just eight assists and zero points."

McCaffery was positive and negative about Cartwright after the game. The guard did turn the ball over three-consecutive possessions at one point in the second half, but those were his only turnovers.

"The thing about Bryce, you look at his overall body of work today, and he was spectacular," McCaffery said. "And he got sloppy a couple of times, that's going to manifest itself in a negative way if we don't get that corrected."

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