Iowa Media Day Basketball

Hawkeyes: Don’t sleep on senior Eric May

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The Iowa Hawkeyes have a legitimate chance to get back to the NCAA tournament this season, even coming out of the supertough Big Ten. A great deal of outsider focus has fallen on the younger players brought in by third-year head coach Fran McCaffery. But current members of the team are careful to give all due praise to lone senior Eric May, who has remained with the team since the frozen-in-amber Todd Lickliter days.

Nobody really thinks May will be the leading scorer on this Hawkeyes team, but he plans to make a real impact on defense, which has long been the Achilles heel of the up-tempo attack brought in by former Siena mastermind McCaffery.

“I want to be the guy locked in on their best player,” May said. “I’m excited about it.”

Instead of trying to outscore teams, the Hawkeyes need to defend if they want to move north in the Big Ten standings.

“We can’t accept getting beat, or giving up on plays,” May said. “It all transfers over to games, and Big Ten games. It has to be consistent every single day.”

May’s level-headed approach may be crucial at times. Iowa’s talented freshmen are full of the vim and vigor of unbounded youth, which we all know vacillates between genius and idiocy on any given night. Witness the cocky responses two freshmen point guards gave when the HawkCentral blog asked them what they’ll do the first time they have a breakaway to the basket:

“I’m definitely dunking it no matter what,” Mike Gesell said. “The adrenaline will be pumping in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and I think my vertical will be twice as high at that moment.”

Fellow freshman point guard Anthony Clemmons was just as certain.

“It’s got to be a dunk,” Clemmons said. “It has to be a dunk.”

No doubt, the confidence is rather thrilling on a team that used to give Wisconsin a run for their money as the lowest-scoring team in the league. Whether it will convert into a legit shot to get back to the Big Dance is just one of the 1,000 questions we can’t wait to answer in the upcoming season.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

VIDEO: Monmouth hits a game-winner, Bench Mob member tries to disrobe

King Rice
AP
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Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.

The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:

No. 17 Arizona erases double-digit deficit to beat UCLA

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.

UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.

Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.

All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.

The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.