Clemmons out performs Gesell in Prime Time playoffs


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Iowa sophomore point guard Mike Gesell knew that Thursday night’s highly anticipated rematch with fellow Hawkeye point guard Anthony Clemmons would be a heated competition.

“Whenever we step on the floor, it’s a competition,” Gesell said after winning last Sunday night’s playoff game. “We’re both competitive guys. We love to go after each other. You’ll definitely see us going at each other on Thursday.”

Clemmons claimed bragging rights over Gesell on Thursday after beating the Sioux City, Neb., native twice during summer-league competition. Clemmons and Prime Time teammate Jared Uthoff sparked their team to a 102-95 victory, securing a spot in the July 21 championship game.

The game initially looked as if another upset was brewing during the early portions. Gesell’s team opened the game with a lot energy by taking a 27-25 lead 10 minutes into the first half behind the sophomore guard’s hot shooting.

Clemmons and Uthoff, coached by league Commissioner Randy Larson, were visibly frustrated with their play and called a time-out in order to allowed the players to gather themselves.

“When times got hard, I thought we needed to pick up our intensity on defense,” Clemmons said. “We just needed to rebound and get the loose balls. They were making their run — we just told each other to pick up the intensity.”

Larson’s players looked completely different after the short break. They increased defensive pressure and intensity in the half’s final 10 minutes.

Great defense turned into great offense as turnovers and missed shots enabled Uthoff and Clemmons to make numerous highlight-reel plays on fast breaks.  They were the driving forces behind a 35-18 run to close the half, and Larson’s team led 60-43 at the break.

Gesell’s team slowly chipped away at the 17-point deficit in the second half and began to mount a comeback until the Black and Gold sophomore left the game with an apparent thumb injury. His teammates fought hard his absence, trimming the lead to 93-88, but they ultimately couldn’t fight off elimination.

Clemmons finished with 30 points to go along with 7 assists, outdueling Gesell’s 22 points and 5 assists before he left the contest midway through the second half.

Uthoff finished with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting in his final Prime Time League game this summer. The junior won’t suit up for Sunday’s game because he’ll be at the East-Coast All-Stars training camp at Fordham University, preparing for the squad’s trip to Estonia. There, they’ll take on some of the top FIBA international teams starting July 23.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity; I can’t say enough,” Uthoff said. “It’s getting to play basketball, especially overseas, in a different type of game and get that experience over there.”

Players on each side seem eager to claim bragging rights in the upcoming championship bout. Devyn Marble, whose team will oppose Clemmons’, is in position to cap off an unlikely run to the Prime Time crown. Clemmons, meanwhile, is seeking to defend last season’s title.

“Get ready for a show,” he said. “That’s all I have to say.”

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