A Historic Win
by, 12-31-2011 at 09:20 PM (351 Views)
Iowa basketball has arrived again. The play of the Hawkeyes was not of a team that has had nothing but misery in the past few seasons. This was not the team that lost to Campbell this season, nor the team that lost by a wide margin at home against Clemson.
Iowa went to Wisconsin today, punched the Badgers in the mouth and never looked back. The Hawkeyes were at their best with Bryce Cartwright, Matt Gatens, Devyn Marble, Melsahn Basabe and Aaron White. What a performance these five put on today. Cartwright looked like he is completely healthy and had one of his best, if not his best shooting days ever as a Hawkeye (7-12 FG, 3-3 FT) compiling 17 pts, he also had a excellent floor game with 5 assists and only one turnover.
Matt Gatens, the lightning rod of an angry fanbase for much of his career, played one of his single best games in his career. Gatens scored 6 pts, not a big total, but he was aggressive with his shots. Where Gatens had the most impact today was 12 rebounds, that has to be a career high and 6 assists. Defensively, when Marble was out of the game, he played the top PG, Jordan Taylor remarkably well and should silence some who are over critical with his defensive prowess. Just a great game for Matt to contribute in so many ways and get some redemption from last year's game at Iowa City.
Marble is absolutely fearless, what a great performance on defense against Taylor all day. Marble's length really bothers the smaller PG's that he plays against. Marble was also instrumental in getting Ryan Evans and early exit from the game, remember Evans has been playing well for the Badgers and had 22 pts his last game out. The maturity Marble showed down the stretch, hitting the two biggest shots of the game, shows his improvement from last year to this year. Marble did not force anything today, he let his teammates who were on, White/Cartwright, continue to control the game. When Iowa needed him the most, he was there for the Hawks and he couldn't have been bigger at those times.
Melsahn Basabe is a kid that is getting better every game. Basabe's post defense was very good today and his 9 rebounds were huge, but he also blocked out very well and Gatens took advantage of that with his numbers. Basabe could have had 15 rebounds today with how well he blocked out. Basabe was attacking today and didn't get a couple calls he should of, but that is how it goes. Melsahn is playing above his level from last season, he looks more and more like the player fans expected to see at the start of the season.
Aaron White, what a player this kid is becoming. There are only a few freshman that have had such an impact on Iowa basketball. White willed this team back with his stretch of points. Aaron is all energy, he comes in and plays all out and never stops playing. Someone made a comparison to Chris Street today, this is one that never occured to me, but it fits. They each posses a ton of heart, but they are opposites. Street was a great defensive player to start his career, his offense was catching up before he passed away, but Aaron is better offensively and is improving defensively. If White can impact Iowa they way Street did before his untimely passing, then Iowa will be much better for it.
The signifcance of today may not truly be felt for some time, but Iowa basketball is back to a respectable level at least. The perception of the program in Iowa has changed and is steadily changing througout the Big Ten conference. The days of being an afterthought are closer to being an afterthought. Looking forward to the rest of the season there are a lot of capable wins out there, at Minnesota is the next one. Illinois is a Jekyl and Hyde team, Penn State is not good and who knows how good Northwestern and Nebraska are. There are wins out there and if Iowa can somehow finish around .500 it will be a very successful season.
The future is bright, but the present is shaping up to be exciting.