IOWA CITY, Ia. - Southern Illinois-Edwardsville is in its third year of a four-year reclassification to Division I. The Cougars might need some more time.
Iowa overwhelmed the visitors from start to finish here on Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes evened their record at 3-3 with a 111-50 win.
Six players reached double figures in points for the Hawkeyes, including two guys - (Zach McCabe 16) and Branden Stubbs (12) - off of the bench. Freshman Melsahn Basabe scored 13 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds, while Eric May (13), Matt Gatens (12) and Bryce Cartwright (11) also enjoyed fine games.
"I think when you go back to all the different contributions we were able to get, I think that's the thing that has me most excited," Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said.
Iowa played without starting point guard Cully Payne, who was diagnosed with a sports hernia earlier this week. The sophomore from Illinois had surgery scheduled for Tuesday and is out indefinitely.
McCaffery said the estimate for Payne's return at 6-8 weeks, but added: "It's hard to say. I think it's always a function of what they find when they get in there. It could be shorter. It could be longer."
Devyn Marble appeared to be Iowa's back-up point guard with Cartwright starting. McCaffery said Stubbs, a freshman walk-on, Stoermer, a junior walk-on, Gatens and others could see time at the lead guard spot.
"We've got point guard by committee," the coach said.
Relentless defense keyed Iowa's success against the Cougars. Edwardsville committed a remarkable 29 turnovers.
"Coach prepared us really well," said May, who had seven of his team's 19 steals. "We knew what type of plays they were going to be running. Being able to jump the passes, it was there. It was available. We turned the ball over a lot. It was good team defense."
Iowa opened the game with a 15-4 run in the first five minutes. Cartwright had four points in the spurt. The Cougars (1-5) made the next basket and Iowa brought in some substitutes.
McCabe entered the contest and knocked down two three pointers as Iowa pushed its lead to 25-6 with 12 minutes remaining in the opening half. The rout was on.
"I thought Iowa's coaches are doing a great job of carrying those guys," SIUE coach Lennox Forrester said. "Those guys are pretty tough both mentally and physically. They're just a great basketball team and Coach McCaffery is doing a good job of building special here at Iowa."
Iowa next plays on Tuesday night at Wake Forest as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
-Iowa running back Adam Robinson watched the game from the front row.
-Corey Wickware was whistled for an intentional foul when he slammed Cartwright to the floor on a breakaway lay-up attempt in the second half. The SIUE junior went to help up Iowa's point guard but McCaffery incepted him and was giving Wickware a piece of his mind. Cooler heads prevailed and both teams returned to their benches for a timeout.
"I just did not feel like we needed to be in that situation," McCaffery said. "We're not going to have that. We don't need to be chopping people in the head, that kind of thing. So, I voiced my displeasure. And the officials did a phenomenal job taking care of it."
-May came away with seven steals. It represented the fourth-highest, single-game total in Hawkeye history.
-Iowa reached the 100-point mark in a game for the first time since December of 2006.
-Iowa's 61-point win matched the sixth biggest in school history. It's the largest margin of victory since the Hawkeyes dumped Pepperdine by the same score in 1966.
-Nineteen steals represented the most by an Iowa team since 1997.