Tate a big factor in wins and losses

Iowa's Cyrus Tate jokes around with teammate J.R. Angle before their  Big Ten Conference basketball game against Wisconsin Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Iowa won the game 73-69 in overtime. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Iowa's Cyrus Tate jokes around with teammate J.R. Angle before their Big Ten Conference basketball game against Wisconsin Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Iowa won the game 73-69 in overtime. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Cyrus Tate’s playing status impacts Iowa’s win-loss record.
Iowa (13-11) is 12-4 in game Tate finishes. The Hawkeyes are 1-7 with an overtime victory in those games he doesn’t play or finish. It’s not that his statistics are that impressive —7.1 points, 6.2 rebounds — it’s his on-court demeanor and leadership that give the team confidence and his offense precision.
“Cyrus does things that we might not write about but are instrumental to success,” Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said. “What we might call small things if we didn’t realize how important they are.”
Those “small things” include a swagger in the post on defense. Tate, who stands 6-foot-8, gets into position and locks down his opponent. Offensively, he’s the designated screener. He often doesn’t touch the ball with scoring opportunities unless his competitor forgets him in a pick-and-roll situation. The picks he sets are crisp and effective, allowing guards to move freely in space and kick out to a perimeter shooter.
“When we practiced the day before Northwestern, it was really very apparent to me that he’s in tune. He understands what we want,” Lickliter said. “I hope I didn’t take that for granted before, but I really believe he’s got a good feel for it, how to be a good teammate, how to help his team and what that might mean.”
Tate, a senior co-captain, suffered a severely sprained right ankle against Minnesota on Jan. 8. Iowa led the Gophers when Tate’s injury occurred, about eight minutes into the game. Iowa couldn’t hold the lead and lost 52-49. Iowa went on a free-fall with three double-digit losses over a seven-game span. Tate tried multiple times to play, including workouts about two hours before each game. But each time the ankle swelled grew more painful with each step.
Tate’s status changed last week against Northwestern. He could finally move laterally enough to try and play. He started, played 13 minutes, grabbed five rebounds and scored two points. Tate snagged rebounds on two of Northwestern’s first four possessions. His performance gave Iowa an emotional boost that helped guide Iowa to a five-point win.
“Cyrus is a great leader, just himself being a person who brings the team up with great morale,” said Iowa sophomore Jarryd Cole, a fellow co-captain who splits time with Tate in the post. “He helped contribute to the win.”
Tate wanted to play more against Northwestern, but trainer John Streif allowed him to play just seven minutes a half. It provoked one minor outrage by Tate in the first half, but he cooled off, composed himself and re-entered the game later.
“I felt like I could have played a lot last game,” Tate said. “I think (Streif) did a good job to limit minutes and get this ankle back healthy. “The past seven games I missed it’s hard not being able to come out and not go out and contribute with the team. But it’s a pretty good feeling to get a standing ovation from the fans.”
Tate avoided icing the ankle following the game and uses a cream to keep the area loose. He takes Motrin to reduce inflammation and wears an uncomfortable brace that travels halfway to his knee. But he’s keeping his spirits high in hopes to play as many minutes as possible tonight at 14-9 Wisconsin.
“I think each day is getting better,” Tate said. “I feel a little bit more flexibility in that ankle each day. I’m just getting treatments in and hopefully be a hundred percent next week.”

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: