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Early run by Hawkeyes suffocated FDU's chances early

BY RYAN PROBASCO | DECEMBER 10, 2013 5:00 AM

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After allowing Fairleigh Dickinson to open the game with 6-straight points, Iowa regained enough composure to go on a 19-0 run, quickly demolishing any chance of an upset in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Monday night.

With the win, the Black and Gold moved to 10-1 this season. Depth was once again a huge advantage for Iowa — five Hawkeyes socred in double figures. The Hawkeye bench finished the day outscoring Fairleigh Dickinson’s reserves by a margin of 51-28.

“The bench has been great,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “We got the break going, we threw it ahead. We really attacked their three-quarter court pressure with great success. And a lot of the game, Greg [Herenda] played a smaller lineup, so we dominated the glass.”

Senior forward Melsahn Basabe put together another nice performance after scoring 15 points to go along with his 8 rebounds against Drake on Dec. 7. On Monday, Basabe finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, which gave the Glen Cove, N.Y. native his 13th career double-double.

“My coaches are really confident in me, everybody has confidence in me,” Basabe said. “Games like this, I don’t consider it a special performance. I just consider it me doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Basabe wasn’t the only Iowa player to accomplish a double-double Monday. Junior center Gabriel Olaseni and transfer Jarrod Uthoff notched their own as well.

Olaseni finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes of play, while Uthoff quietly turned in another smooth, effective performance, finishing with 10 points (4-of-5 field goals) and 10 boards. 

From the opposing locker room, Iowa received heavy praise from Fairleigh head Herenda. On Nov. 18, Herenda’s Knights lost to the Associated Press’ newly crowned No. 1 team in the country, Arizona.

Herenda’s experience coaching against both Arizona and Iowa give him the credibility necessary to compare the two teams. And for Iowa fans hoping this year’s squad can eventually compete with the nation’s best in the NCAA Tournament, Herenda’s words should serve as strong assurance.

“We played Arizona. Iowa is probably in that class,” Herenda said. “They’re a very good basketball team. They are so deep, and they’re very long. Iowa is so well-coached. Preparing for them, we could not find a weakness. Then tonight, we couldn’t find a weakness.”  

For Iowa, the game against the Knights was challenging in a unique way. The opponent obviously didn’t cause many issues for the Hawkeyes. But after playing on Saturday night, the Hawkeyes had just a day to prepare for Monday’s tilt.

Seeing the Black and Gold perform well under the circumstances, McCaffery’s confidence in his team grew — as it has been since the season tipped off.

It’s a near impossibility to quantify the value a game like Monday gives to Iowa, but with a showdown against ranked in-state opponent Iowa State scheduled for Friday night, McCaffery believes every opportunity the Hawkeyes have can be worth something.

“I think every game helps you,” he said. “For us, getting back late after the Drake game and having to lock in yesterday, it’s kind of been that way all year for us. Short preps, stay focused. I think the approach has been very mature.

“I’m OK either way. You don’t like short preps when you don’t think your team can handle short preps. But these guys can. They’ve been through it, they’re smart, they’re experienced. And they’re able to process the information quickly if they have to.”


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