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Tough sledding for Huskies — Hawkeyes win, 88-55

BY BEN SCHUFF | NOVEMBER 18, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa men's basketball team faced a small dose of adversity on Thursday night. For the first time in the young season, the Hawkeyes found themselves trailing their opponent.

They responded well.

Iowa was down, 11-9, to Northern Illinois, but came out hot following the first media time-out. The Hawkeyes went on a 16-5 run over the ensuing 5:02, taking a 25-16 lead. The Huskies never got within 5 points, and Iowa (3-0) coasted to an 88-55 victory in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"We looked at each other [in the time-out] and told each other we were better than the way we were playing," forward Eric May said. "We came out and showed it."

The run started with a contested lay-up from May off an inbounds pass from Bryce Cartwright. The senior point guard had assists on Iowa's next two baskets, a pair of 3-pointers from Matt Gatens.    

Following two free-throws from Melsahn Basabe, 4 points from Aaron white, and a Zach McCabe lay-up, the Hawkeyes found themselves in a position in which they would stay for the remainder of the game.

"Our defense finally stepped up," said Gatens, who scored 15 points and made three 3-pointers. "To a man, we played some [defense], and team defense stepped up. We started talking better and that's what we've been talking about in practice and those things finally came out in a game, which is great to see."

Freshman Josh Oglesby led the Hawkeyes offensively with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-7 from the 3-point line. His hot hand was a stark contrast from his first two games, in which he shot 1-of-8 from outside.

After being asked on a couple of occasions since the beginning of the year if his freshman has the "green light," Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery made a statement on Oglesby's shooting abilities.

"I have every bit as much confidence in him as he has in himself," McCaffery said. "He can shoot it whenever he wants to — early in the shot clock, at the end of the shot clock, off one pass, in transition — doesn't matter."

McCaffery's squad shot incredibly well from the 3-point line as a team, too. Iowa made 62 percent of its shots from the perimeter on 13-of-21 shooting.

"I don't even know if you can do that with no one in the gym," Northern Illinois (0-3) head coach Mark Montgomery said.

A big reason for the team's shooting success was Iowa's ability to find the open man. The Hawkeyes has assists on 26 of their 33 field goals and turned the ball over only nine times. Cartwright recorded 9 assists in only 19 minutes of play.

The 6-1 guard brought the crowd of 9,666 to its feet on two instances with his flashy passing. The first came toward the end of the first half when he threw a perfect half-court alley-oop to May. The second came in the second half, when he drove the lane, spun to lose his defender, and then hit an open May in the right corner for a 3-pointer.   

"That's really impressive," McCaffery said about his team's assist total. "I think that's the thing that as you look at the stats, that impresses me the most."


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