Hawkeyes Gatens, Basabe, and White combine for 84 points in Prime Time win

BY CODY GREDELL | JUNE 27, 2011 7:20 AM

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Spectators filled North Liberty’s stuffy Jones Gym early to catch a glimpse of two of the best rosters in the Prime Time League.

They weren’t disappointed. Matt Gatens and Melsahn Basabe’s Falbo Bros. squad (2-1) edged Roy Devyn Marble’s Monica’s/Pelling team (1-2), 112-105.

The first half of Sunday’s game was fast-paced, with hardly anything resembling defense. Marble’s team held the lead the entire first period thanks to 20 early points by the Iowa guard. Falbo couldn’t seem to pull away from Monica’s, though, thanks in large part to the play of Aaron White. The incoming freshman from Strongsville, Ohio, scored 19 first-half points on 7-of-9 shooting.

“I thought I ran the floor well,” he said. “I found my spots with some energy plays around the hoop [and by] making some cuts backdoor. I thought I was just in the right positions.”

White’s play in the first half appeared to intrigue the crowd, especially when he combined with former Iowa walk-on hopeful Andre Murphy. The diminutive guard stole the ball and threw it up to White, who threw down an electrifying alley-oop to cut the deficit to one point, 60-59.

The two teams traded small runs for much of the first half. Every time Marble’s team would push its lead to 6 or 7 points, Gatens, Basabe, and White would fight right back with a small run of their own to cut the lead back down.

Monica’s, ended the half on a Darryl Moore lay-up to take a 66-61 lead into the break.

Monica’s exploded out of the gates after halftime, running out to a game-high 16-point lead before Falbo could seem to blink.

“They switched defenses, and it screwed with us,” Gatens said. “It’s not something you usually see out here in Prime Time, so we had to figure it out.”

Falbo’s caught a break, though, when former Hawkeye Duez Henderson was whistled for an intentional foul for grabbing Gatens in midair as the Iowa City native drove for a lay-up. This proved to be a turning point in the game — Falbo’s seized the momentum and held it the rest of the way.

“It swung the game around,” Monica’s forward Anthony Lee said. “They were already getting some easy buckets, and it did really turn the game around.”

Falbo went on an 18-6 run to take the lead and close the game. The run saw clutch offensive play from Gatens, Basabe, and White, and Falbo also tightened up defensively. The squad allowed only 10 points over the last nine minutes of action.

Marble, Prime Time’s leading scorer entering the contest, finished with a game-high 30 points on 10-of-24 shooting. Close friend Basabe wasn’t far behind, pouring in 29. Gatens and White chipped in 28 and 27, respectively.

Despite falling to 1-2 on the season, Lee said Monica’s won’t dwell on squandering the large lead. Instead, the players plan to look forward to their next matchup, against Armstrong, which features Hawkeye Zach McCabe and Ali Farokhmanesh, on Tuesday.

“You just have to play one game at a time and do what you got to do,” the forward from Temple University said. “Every team in this league still has a chance to play in the championship game.”

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