Basabe’s 23 points not enough in Prime Time loss

BY ERIK PAPKE | JULY 11, 2011 7:20 AM

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Fans in North Liberty experienced some déjà vu on Sunday.

When Bryce Cartwright’s Prime Time League team played the squad with Matt Gatens and Melsahn Basabe on June 18, the final score was a 31-point blowout.

Nine players on Cartwright’s team (3-3) scored more than 5 points when the teams met again on Sunday. The balanced attack was more than enough to overshadow Basabe’s 23-point, 10-rebound double-double in a 84-59 smackdown. Cartwright and Company have won two straight.

The rematch started out with a frantic pace, and each team tried to push the ball in transition for fast-break points. Cartwright’s Ready Mix/Vinton Merchants teammates keyed an early 12-0 run while the Iowa point guard was on the bench to jump out to a 20-8 lead midway through the first half.

Opposing coach Ron Nove was forced to call a time-out to try to regroup, and the tactic appeared to work. His Falbo/Culver’s team (3-3) went on a 6-0 run immediately following the break.

Senior guard Matt Gatens had nothing to do with that scoring spurt, though. The Iowa City native went scoreless in the first half, missing on all seven of his attempted field goals.

“We [just] didn’t shoot … we just didn’t play very well at all,” Nove said. “This is the worst game we’ve played all year.”

Falbo still had Basabe and Aaron White to turn to, though, and the pair scored 20 of the team’s 29 points in the first half.

Two of these points came on a monstrous dunk by Basabe. After Gatens missed a jumper from the left side of the basket, the 6-7 New York native flew in from the right side to catch the ball under the basket and throw it down behind his head. The capacity crowd in North Liberty erupted with cheers and hollers, and Basabe received a standing ovation.

Basabe’s put-back slam also energized his team, which managed to cut the deficit to 4 points by halftime.

The second half began much like the first, with each team streaking up and down the court trying to score in transition.

Incoming Iowa forward Gabe Olaseni showed off his running ability by beating everyone down the court to finish with a fast-break lay-up early in half, and the 6-10 freshman from London didn’t stop there.

He swatted a Gatens lay-up attempt into the second row of the bleachers, much to the delight of the crowd, and finished the game with 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

“He played well,” said Olaseni’s coach, Ray Swetalla. “He just doesn’t know how to play yet — it’s not a negative, he just hasn’t been in a college practice yet.”

Olaseni’s fast-break lay-up and block set the tone for the rest of the half, and his team outscored Falbo 51-30 in the period.

Falbo had trouble shooting the ball throughout the game, which ultimately resulted in its demise. The team shot just 24-of-75 (32 percent) from the field, including 4-of-18 from behind the arc. Ready Mix, on the other hand, connected on 48 percent of its attempts.

And while some fans appeared surprised that the usually potent trio of Basabe, Gatens, and White could be defeated so easily, Cartwright said he wasn’t shocked at all.

“We expect to win,” the senior from Compton, Calif., said.

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