Melsahn Basabe is content with his role on the Iowa men’s basketball team this season.
And if there was ever any doubt about whether or not the decision to keep Basabe a reserve, that conclusion seemed pretty simple on Saturday afternoon.
In a game in which Iowa had the clear advantage from the opening tip, the Hawkeyes thrashed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 88-59, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes (6-2) received 17 points from Basabe, who has consistently provided a significant boost off the bench this season.
As a team, the Black and Gold shot 55.8 percent from the field.
“I felt like I wasn’t doing enough the last couple of games,” Basabe said. “I came into today with a serious mindset and tried to establish a rhythm.”
Basabe — who Fox Sports and BTN announcer Gus Johnson famously labeled as “spicy” last season — was the cornerstone of head coach Fran McCaffery’s first recruiting class at Iowa.
The Glen Cove, N.Y., native led the way for the Hawkeyes, including a huge scoring run that spanned about seven minutes early on in the first half. With Iowa leading just 11-7 at one stage, it mounted a 20-0 run that eventually was snapped by a Corpus Christi (1-6) 2-point field goal.
That run was the game-changer.
McCaffery noted that, in part, the run was aided by Basabe’s aggressiveness.
“I don’t think he’s been as aggressive in recent weeks, so [his performance] was great to see,” McCaffery said. “He was alert, he was on the glass, he was driving the ball to the basket, and he was running the floor.
“When he plays like that we’re a better team.”