The Iowa men’s basketball team needed a solid bounce back game after a poor performance at Virginia Tech earlier this week. They got it and much more. The Hawks made sure not to overlook their one win opponent, and they played well from start to finish.
The Hawkeyes got off to a blazing start as they scored the first nine points of the contest. The big man in the middle, Adam Woodbury, showed some impressive post moves to score a few quick buckets early on. It is only the eighth game of the year for the Hawkeyes, but noticable improvement has been shown from their top recruit. He was a perfect 4-4 from the field in the first half, and 3-4 from the line. He finished the first half with 11 points as well as four rebounds. If he keeps improving and maturing at this pace, things will be looking good for the Hawkeyes down the stretch.
But surprisingly Woodbury was not the star of the first half. That honor belongs to the sixth man of the Hawks, Melsahn Basabe. Basabe provided great energy for the team as he was attacking the bucket and rebounding with authority. Basabe scored an impressive 15 points in just eight minutes of play. Like Woodbury, Basabe was a perfect 4-4 from the field. But most of his damage came from the charity stripe as he was 7-8 from the line. Basabe was very aggresive as he ran the floor and looked for passes from the Iowa guards. It paid off for him with a few easy buckets on the fast break. As Basabe was taken out of the game, he recieved a well-deserved standing ovation from the home crowd.
Iowa led 44 to 23 going into the half behind the play of Woodbury and Basabe who scored over half of the teams points. Zach McCabe added five points and both Aaron White and Mike Gesell scored four a piece. The Hawks showed their size advantage down low as they out-rebounded the much smaller Islanders 22 to 7 to dominate the boards.
With the game pretty much decided by half time, the Hawks came out in the second half playing loose and relaxed as they were firing on all cylinders. Gesell came out assertive as he knocked down a couple of 3-pointers right out of the gate. This is a good sign for the Hawks because he has been struggling from beyond the arch early on in the season. Gesell controlled the tempo for the Hawks as well from the point guard position. Like Woodbury, the freshman Gesell showed great maturity for his age as he looks like the early season leader of the Hawkeyes.
Along with his point guard, Josh Oglesby caught fire in the second half of the game. The sophomore sharp shooter scored all of his 12 points in the second half for the Hawks as he knocked down a couple of 3-pointers and pulled up on a few impressive jump shots. The defense did not know how to guard him because he would blow by them if they played him tight, and shoot from long distance if they played back.
Overall it was a complete game from the Hawkeyes, which we have not seen much of early on in the year. The younger players are showing maturity as the season progresses, which bodes well for the squad. The key to the Hawks success is going to be the play of the two freshman with Gesell at the point guard position, as well as Woodbury at center. It is tough having such youth and inexperience at the two most important positions on the floor, but the two freshman have handled the spotlight well. The Hawkeyes stand at 6-2 in the season so far, and will look for another victory on Tuesday night as they host South Dakota.