Basabe, Gatens, White through to PTL championship

BY KYLE HUGHES | JULY 20, 2011 7:20 AM

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Don't block Melsahn Basabe's shot.

If you do, bad things will happen — and Northern Iowa's Seth Tuttle found that out the hard way in Tuesday night's Prime Time League semifinal.

After having his shot blocked by Tuttle, Basabe immediately turned to the referee looking for a foul call. The whistle never came, though, and the Iowa forward took matters into his own hands.

The next time down the floor, Matt Gatens received a pass in the frontcourt and Tuttle drifted under the hoop to defend against a fast-break score. Gatens switched hands and lobbed a pass to Basabe, who gathered the ball in his right hand and threw down a thunderous slam over Tuttle. The dunk had the North Liberty crowd cheering wildly and swung the momentum back to Falbo Bros/Culver's (6-3), which eventually rode the energy to a 97-86 win.

Basabe scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half and gathered 9 rebounds to lead his team to the win over Bryce Cartwright's Iowa City Ready Mix/Vinton Merchants (4-4). He said the thought of revenge was going through his mind when he went up for the ally-oop.

"[I was thinking] I'm about to dunk it on him," Basabe said. "[Tuttle] blocked my shot on the play before, so I had to pay him back."

For a while, it looked like Cartwright might carry his team to the win, and he finished with a game-high 29 points. He took control of the game early and at one point had 10-straight points.

The trio of Basabe, Gatens, and Iowa freshman Aaron White was simply too good, though. The three combined for 65 points and 22 rebounds, and they shot 19-for-21 from the free-throw line.

The smallest player on the court may have had the biggest impact, though. When the offense stalled for Falbo, 5-9 point guard Andre Murphy kept things rolling by chasing down loose balls, battling for rebounds, and hitting big shots down the stretch.

"Murphy is just a unique kid — I love him," coach Ron Nove said. "I've had him two years in a row, and he just makes everybody better."

Murphy, who finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, said he has learned to play a certain way because of his size.

"I'm so short, many people don't like to pass me the ball," he said. "Growing up, I was always having to get the ball myself to go score."

The loss will end the Prime Time season for Cartwright and Iowa forward Gabe Olaseni, whose team held a 49-43 lead at halftime. Cartwright's teammates struggled in the second half, shooting a combined 8-for-27 from the field.

"That was the third time we've played [Cartwright's] team, and we lost to them the first few times," White said. "I think every one of us wanted to win that game and advance to the championship game."

Falbo will play an Anthony Hubbard-less Coach's Corner squad for the Prime Time championship on July 24.

"I think with the talent we have with Melsahn, Matt Gatens, myself, [and] Murphy, we have a pretty good team," White said. "If we keep playing hard, rebound well, and get out on the run, we can win it."

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