IOWA CITY - The Hawkeye men's basketball team did not need much from their backcourt Saturday afternoon. The big guys down low did most of the heavy lifting.
Junior Melsahn Basabe came off the bench to score a season-high 17 points and grab five rebounds, while freshman Adam Woodbury added 13 points and five boards as the Hawkeyes easily dispatched of overmatched Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 88-59, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The key sequence in the game is when Basabe scored 13 points during a 20-0 run in the first half to push the lead from 11-7 with 13:22 to play to 31-7 with 7:27 left in the first half.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Iowa junior Melsahn Basabe puts up a shot against Texas A&M Corpus Christi’s Nate Maxey during the Hawkeyes’ 88-59 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday. Basabe had 15 points off the bench for Iowa and scored 13 during a 20-0 first-half run.
"I wanted to come in here and play hard," Basabe said. "I didn't want to just think this was a noon game and just coast. I knew I had things to work on."
Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery started three true freshmen in the game as Anthony Clemmons was inserted into the lineup for junior Zach McCabe. It was the first time three freshmen started in a game for Iowa since Aaron Fuller, Matt Gatens and Anthony Tucker started for Todd Lickliter on Dec. 2, 2008.
"I felt like Zach would benefit from coming off the bench," McCaffery said. "I felt he was pressing a bit. I probably did it more for Zach than for Anthony. This team was small and quick so it also helped us match up a little bit."
Four players scored in double figures for the Hawkeyes, but leading scorers Devyn Marble and Aaron White had two and four, respectively, at the break and Iowa still led 44-23.
"We have a lot of guys who can scored on this team," Marble said. "I have been telling you guys this since the preseason. There will be nights where Whitey and I don't score a lot of points. But anyone on this team could go for 20 on any given night."
Marble did finish with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists, while White had six points and three boards. White's minutes were limited after he got called for a technical foul in the first half. He did not go back into the game until halfway through the second half and played just 11 minutes in the win.
"I took him out mainly because he had three fouls," McCaffery said. "He just said something that he shouldn't have said."
The key for Woodbury was staying out of foul trouble. The inside game was working for the Hawkeyes (6-2) all day, and the 7-foot-1 center benefited because he was able to stay on the floor.
"It was certainly key for me," Woodbury said. "The game came to me easier today, and I was more in rhythm. Keeping out of foul trouble helped me for sure though."
Hameed Ali and Jonathan Jordan each scored 13 points to lead the Islanders, who drop to 1-5 on the season. Zane Knowles had 12 points off the bench.
Iowa converted 15 Islander turnovers into 24 points, scored 44 bench points and shot 56 percent from the floor. The Hawkeyes also shot 22-of-29 from the line, while TAMCC was just 6-of-10.
Marble is the only Hawkeye to score in double-figures in each game this season. Iowa scored a season-high 88 points and had a season-high 22 assists in the win. Fourteen different Hawkeyes played and 10 scored. Clemmons was told officially Friday that he would make his first career start. "I want to give my best effort and just do what I do when I come off the bench," said Clemmons, whose nickname is 'Sapp.' "I was anxious, but as the game went on I shook the jitters off." Iowa never trailed in the game. The Hawkeyes will next play at 7 p.m. Tuesday against South Dakota before playing host to Iowa State on Friday night. The Islanders will not play again they travel to South Alabama on Sunday, Dec. 16. They also play at Texas A&M on Tuesday, Dec. 18. TAMCC's only win came in the opener against Division II Texas Lutheran. Iowa point guard Mike Gesell had nine points, four assists and four rebounds, while McCabe finished with seven points off the bench.