Iowa Basketball Starts with Loss for First Time in 33 Seasons

B.Senior Analyst INovember 17, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 12:  Matt Gatens #5 of the Iowa Hawkeyes looks to pass the ball against the Michigan Wolveriens during the first round of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 12, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Things aren't looking so great for the Iowa men's basketball team. 

The Hawkeyes hadn't lost a home opener since 1962, but that changed Sunday night in a 62-50 loss to Texas-San Antonio.

This is the first time Iowa has started a season with a loss since a 79-78 defeat to Iowa State during the 1977-78 season.

In a defensive battle with a more experienced team, the Hawkeyes struggled to get anything going on offense. Iowa shot just 34 percent from the field.

Matt Gatens and Anthony Tucker, two of Iowa's returning players from last year, were a combined four out of 19 shooting. 

The Hawkeyes had to rely on Freshmen Eric May and Cully Payne for their scoring needs.  May came off the bench to score a team-high 13 points in his college debut. Payne added 12 points of his own, scoring three of the Hawkeyes' five three-pointers.

Iowa trailed for most of the game, partially due to their dismal 18.5 percent shooting from beyond the three-point line.

"Defensively, we were good," Payne told reporters after the game. "We just weren't making shots."

Throughout the game, Coach Todd Lickliter rode a roller-coaster of happiness and frustrations. At times, he applauded the effort of his players on defense, but he also buried his head in his hands more than a few times because of their shooting.

Give some credit to Texas-San Antonio for Iowa's loss. The Roadrunners had five players in double digits in scoring and shot 45 percent from behind the three point line. They played solid defense and kept pace with Iowa throughout the game.

After the game, Cedar Rapids Gazette writer Marc Morehouse offered a helpful bit of information for Hawkeye fans through his Twitter page. "Don't worry. John Wooden opened his third season @ UCLA with a home loss to UTSA," Morehouse reminded .

Whether or not Lickliter can pull a Wooden with the Hawkeyes remains to be seen.  Unfortunately, Iowa's schedule doesn't leave him much time to figure things out.

Iowa (0-1) hosts Duquesne tonight as part of ESPN's round-the-clock College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. Duquesne will be without sophomore Melquan Bolding, who was expected to miss up to six weeks following wrist surgery.

The game will be televised nationally at 8 p.m. CST on ESPNU.


This article is also featured on IowaHawkeyes.Net , a nerd's blog dedicated to all that is Hawkeye.