Clemmons stifles Lucious in Hawkeye win over Iowa State

BY TOM CLOS | DECEMBER 10, 2012 6:30 AM

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When Anthony Clemmons was named starting point-guard for the Iowa men’s basketball team prior to its contest against Iowa State, the freshman was well aware of what he was going up against.

Not only did he know dynamic fifth-year senior guard Korie Lucious led the Cyclones, but he also knew a lot about the veteran’s game.

“I’ve seen [Lucious] a lot at open gyms, and I’m pretty experienced on watching him play.” Clemmons said. “I knew what I had coming to town, and I wanted to outplay him.”

And outplay him he did.

Clemmons posted 14 points, 8 assists, and only 1 turnover while holding Lucious to 14 points on 3-13 shooting in the Hawkeyes’ 80-71 Cy-Hawk Series victory over Iowa State Dec. 7.

The rookie pressed the veteran into numerous low-percentage shots throughout the night, leading to an underwhelming 2-of-8 performance from 3-point range by the dangerous guard.

Lucious also committed 7 of his team’s 19 turnovers.

“Obviously, Anthony was spectacular. He’s got an amazing ability to remain under control, to think the game, know what we want,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “Very rare for a player that young.”

Along with Clemmons’ impressive defensive performance, the point guard hit a pair of clutch shots down the stretch with the Cyclones attempting to rally in the final minutes of the contest. His back-to-back jumpers, the second a 3 with 4:44 remaining, pushed the Hawkeyes’ lead back up to 8, and Iowa State couldn’t recover.

Clemmons said he took his matchup with Lucious personally.

“If he was pushing the ball, I wanted to push it harder. If he was making shots, I wanted to make shots,” Clemmons said. “If he was doing something good, I wanted to do it better. That was my motto.”

Clemmons’ supreme effort on both ends wasn’t lost on his teammates.

Fellow backcourt freshman guard Mike Gesell marveled at his partner’s talents and pointed out how special of a night he turned in.

“Anthony did tremendous. He can shoot it and overall did a great job on offense and defense,” Gesell said. “Lucious is a very tough guard and is one of the quickest guards in the country, but Anthony did great against him.”

The Dec 7. win snapped Iowa’s three-game losing streak against its in-state rival, which dated back to a 73-57 triumph in 2008.

Back then, Clemmons was just a ninth-grade student at Sexton High School in Lansing, Mich. Lucious, meanwhile, was on track to start as a freshman for Michigan State and help the Spartans reach back-to-back Final Fours in 2009 and 2010.

Off-court issues in East Lansing eventually led to Lucious transferring to Iowa State before the 2011 season, which he was forced to sit out because of NCAA rules. His addition to an already talented Cyclone team was supposed to be the difference when they came to Iowa City this season.

Thanks to Clemmons, it wasn’t.

“Lucious has had a lot of experience, he played in Final Fours and NCAA Tournament games,” Clemmons said. “But I didn’t want to overthink anything; I just wanted to play ball.”

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