Iowa’s men’s basketball team finished 15-17 and 5-13 in the Big Ten. In a long season, there are always highlights and not-so memorable moments, particularly in a season that featured a little of both.
Over the upcoming week, I’ll rank the top and worst moments of the season — two every day. Here are the N0. 10 and 9 best and worst moments of the 2008-09 men’s basketball season.
No. 10 Best: Cyrus Tate’s effort against Indiana, Jan. 3
Tate scored a game-high 22 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in a 65-60 win against Indiana in Iowa’s Big Ten home opener. Tate’s performance came in front of his mother, who had watched him play collegiately only once. It came in front of his sister, who lives in New York and never had seen him play.
“I’m psyched for them to be here,” Tate said after the game. “It’s always good to have your family come and watch you play.”
At the time it seemed like a precursor to Tate’s season. Unfortunately for Iowa, it was his best moment of the season. In the Hawkeyes’ following game against Minnesota, Tate severely sprained his right ankle eight minutes into the game. He missed nine of the next 10 games, and failed to reach his ascending level of play when he did return.
No. 10 worst: Tate goes down, Iowa falls apart against Minnesota, Jan. 8
Iowa blew a 13-point, first-half lead in a three-point loss to Minnesota at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. But as previously mentioned, the loss was secondary to Cyrus Tate’s severely sprained right ankle.
Tate, Iowa’s senior post and co-captain, struggled with pain and swelling for two months. It nearly ended his season.
“I want to get out there and play but what can I do about it?” Tate said in mid-February. “I plan on playing, continue playing basketball after this. This is a bad situation to be in, because I want to be able to contribute to our team and help out and be a presence for our team. But right now it’s something that I just can’t rush. You’ve got to let it take its time.”
Tate played for 13 minutes at home against Northwestern, but was shelved for two more games when the injury re-aggravated. He finally returned back to the lineup for good on Feb. 22.
No. 9 Best: Bawinkel’s 24-point barrage against Ohio State, March 3
Iowa junior Devan Bawinkel nailed eight 3-pointers in 13 attempts, one 3-pointer from tying former 3-point bomber Chris Kingsbury’s record of nine. But Iowa’s Jermain Davis’ layup attempt was swatted away with 7 seconds left. Davis then missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to seal the loss.
Bawinkel tied freshman Anthony Tucker for the most points in a game this season with 24. Every one of Bawinkel’s attempts that game were from beyond the 3-point arc. He finished the season sinking 52 of 144 3-point attempts. He shot only five two-point attempts and scored just one two-point field goal during the season.
No. 9 Worst: Giving Indiana its only Big Ten win, Feb. 4
Iowa trailed by as many as 20 points with less than 12 minutes left against the rebuilding Hoosiers at Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Iowa rallied to cut the Hoosiers’ lead to three points with 44 seconds left.
Iowa couldn’t finish the ultimate comeback. The Hawkeyes suffered two turnovers in the final 30 seconds to give Indiana its only Big Ten win this season 68-60.
Iowa had 14 turnovers in the game and hit just 30 percent of its 3-point attempts. Indiana, conversely, sank nearly 54 percent of its 3-point shots and 49 percent of its overall field goals.