Hawkeye trio “Heat” up Prime Time League

BY KYLE HUGHES | JUNE 29, 2011 7:20 AM

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This summer, Melsahn Basabe has taken his talents to North Liberty — and they were on full display Tuesday night.

Basabe said he has heard some people compare his team, which also features Iowa teammates Matt Gatens and Aaron White, to the Miami Heat. The trio combined for 89 points in a 109-106 victory on Tuesday night, so the comparison fits.

The game was an intensely played, back-and-forth battle, and Iowa players shone throughout.

Last year’s Prime Time MVP, Eric May, kept his team close by scoring 30 points on 13-for-23 shooting, but Basabe’s play down the stretch was too much. The sophomore from Glen Cove, N.Y., scored 26 of his 39 points in the second half. He repeatedly abused his opponents in the post, grabbing 11 rebounds and throwing down several dunks.

“The inside was working,” Basabe said. “Crashing offensive rebounds, [I] got a few dunks, and my teammates were setting me up.”

The dunks led to much of the North Liberty crowd’s excitement. One fan remarked that it looked like LeBron James was on the floor after Basabe threw in a one-handed slam in the first half.

Gatens has also taken a leadership role on Falbo’s/Culver’s of Coralville (3-1), and he scored 31 points on 11-for-15 shooting — including four deep 3-pointers. Afterward, he said he was happy with the way he and his Hawkeye teammates fed off each other.

“It seems like we’re getting some better chemistry out there and playing well together,” Gatens said. “It’s not all about points, but it’s definitely a good thing to see us being aggressive, taking it to the hole, and scoring,”

Incoming freshman Aaron White scored 19 points for Falbo’s/Culver’s, but none more important than the trio of free throws he hit with under 30 seconds left to put the game out of reach for McCurry’s/Gatens Real Estate (1-3).

“[Aaron White] is going to be a very good basketball player,” coach Ron Nove said. “He’s probably even more offensive than I thought he would be. He’s played really well.”

White wasn’t the only incoming Iowa freshman who impressed observers on Tuesday night. Josh Oglesby performed well in the loss, scoring 24 points and hitting 5-of-11 shots from behind the 3-point line.

“All of [the incoming freshmen] are versatile players,” Basabe said. “None of them are specialists. All of them have four or five things they can bring to the table … so that’s only going to make our team more potent.”

European professional and ex-Hawkeye Jason Price scored 20 points for McCurry’s, and ex-Winona State forward Kyle Schlaak also had a nice game, finishing with 14 points.

All that scoring wasn’t enough, though, which has been a recurring theme during the Prime Time Heat’s three-game winning streak. Basabe said he anticipates opponents giving his team and their talented trio their best shot all summer long.

“That’s kind of how every game has been,” he said. “It seems like we are a marked team.”

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