May comes up big in clutch

BY ERIK PAPKE | JUNE 22, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Prime Time League action at the North Liberty Community Center on Tuesday night could have been confusing.

Just before the two games slated for 6 p.m. tip-offs were about to start, their locations were switched so the large crowd gathered to watch new Hawkeye Anthony Hubbard could be accommodated in the bigger gym.

However, the fans who stayed in the smaller, older gym to view the matchup between Bryce Cartwright and Eric May were in for a real treat.

Cartwright scored 20 points and dished out seven assists, but they weren’t enough to stop May and his team, McCurry’s/Mike Gatens. The Iowa junior scored a game-high 26 points and knocked down a pair of free throws with 2.4 seconds left in the game to give his team an 80-78 win.

The game started fairly slowly, and May’s team pulled ahead with a comfortable lead. Sloppy play from Cartwright and his teammates led to a 14-point deficit at one point.

“We played really well [in a season-opening win] on Sunday, but now we have three new guys here,” said coach Ray Swetalla, the coach of Ready Mix/Vinton. “The things we did well Sunday we didn’t do very well today.”

Cartwright’s two first-half turnovers were products of the senior Hawkeye trying to force the ball to his teammates, who had trouble getting open all night against the stingy defense run by coach Randy Larson.

Cartwright redeemed his poor play later in the half, though, by coming up with two steals that helped cut the Ready Mix/Vinton lead to 7 at the break.

In the second half, it seemed Cartwright was much more comfortable with the fast, aggressive pace of the game. He managed to tie the game, and the pressure appeared to affect May. The Hawkeye junior missed two free throws that would have given his team the lead with under three minutes to play, and he was called for a travel that led to Seth Tuttle hitting a pair of free throws to tie the game at 78.

Then May was sent to the foul line once again — and once again, he missed them both.

“Eric May is a very talented kid, but he’s so humble that sometimes he doesn’t have enough cockiness in him,” Larson said.

Cartwright’s team wasted no time after the missed shots taking the ball up court. He was met by a wave of defenders from McCurry’s/Gatens, though, and was called for a five-second violation with 11.5 seconds left in the game. The turnover was his third of the night.

With 2.4 seconds left in the game, May drove to the basket and was fouled once again. The 6-5 wing didn’t disappoint onlookers this time, knocking down both free throws to give his team the 2-point lead that held up.

“I thought that it was a really nice sign that, when it mattered, he knocked them down,” Larson said.
Although Swetalla said he was disappointed by the close loss, he said, he was thinking about improvements for next week.

“We need to not take so many bad shots in the first half,” he said.

Other notable players to watch where incoming Iowa freshmen Gabe Olaseni and Josh Oglesby. The 6-10 Olaseni scored 4 points, pulled down 4 rebounds, and laid a monster block on Michael Adleman in the second half that brought loud cheers from the crowd.

Oglesby followed his 10-point performance on Sunday with a 7-point game on Tuesday. He knocked down 3-of-8 shots, including a 1-for-4 night from behind the 3-point line.

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