McCabe, incoming Hawks shine in PTL opener

BY TOM CLOS | JUNE 20, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa basketball forward Zach McCabe got hot early from beyond the arc in his first Prime Time League appearance of the year.

McCabe scored a game-high 29 points in Vinton Merchants/Mike Gatens, 93-87 victory over Jill Armstrong of Skogman Realty in front of a jam-packed crowd at the North Liberty Recreation Center on Tuesday.

McCabe drained five of his first six 3-point attempts and 7-of-10 overall for head coach Randy Larson. He also tallied 10 rebounds en route to recording a double-double in front of one of the largest crowds in Prime Time history.

The story of the first half was McCabe and former Hawkeye guard Andre Murphy — the two combined to score 33 points and stake Larson's team a 58-43 advantage at the intermission.

"We hadn't played a pickup game for a while now, and I think all of our guys were a little excited to actually play against other people," McCabe said. "It's nice to not just play against our team and get to see other guys out there."

On the losing end, incoming Hawkeye freshman guard Mike Gesell led his team with 27 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point territory. Iowa sophomore forward Melsahn Basabe also notched 18 points for coach Dan Ahrens' team, in addition to pulling down 7 boards in a second-half comeback attempt.

Gesell said that he was excited to be playing well in front of Iowa City crowds and was pumped up by the raucous atmosphere.

"It's awesome anytime we can get fan support like that for our team," he said. "We've got some great things going for us, and it's nice to see that this whole town and the whole state is behind us."

Fans got to see a glimpse of the future when Iowa transfer Jarrod Uthoff scored 11 points after the break, finishing with a total of 13 for Larson's team. Incoming Iowa freshman center Adam Woodbury helped in the victory, too. He pulled down 8 rebounds to go with 3 assists and 2 points.
McCabe said that he liked what he saw from Uthoff and Woodbury, and he believes they will only get better.

"Jarrod hesitated to take some shots, and it happens sometimes," McCabe said. "Adam's got to battle guys like Jarrod in the Big Ten, so he's got to work on that, but they'll both progress and I'm excited that these guys are here."

Uthoff said that it was beneficial to be on the court with some of his potential future Hawkeyes and said he knows there's a lot to work on over the next year.

"It's really nice to be able to play with a couple of my future teammates," he said. "I need to get a lot stronger and most importantly, work on my basketball skills."

Former Iowa player Jarryd Cole put on a show of his own in the first half, grinding out 14 points in the paint and finishing with 19 overall. Cole also racked up 10 rebounds.

The forward spent a season playing Iceland professional basketball but said he was ecstatic to be playing in Iowa again. Cole said he was impressed by what he saw out of Woodbury.

"We had a 7-footer on my team in Iceland, and he wasn't as strong or athletic as Woodbury," Cole said. "He held me to 19 points, and I expect more of myself, but it was fun going against him tonight."

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