IOWA CITY, Ia. - Thr roller coast took a turn for the better Monday day as the Iowa men's basketball team claimed a win against South Carolina State here at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The 82-69 triumph furnished the Hawkeyes with its first winning streak of the season - two games.
Iowa defeated instate rival Drake Saturday night. About seven hours later, the Hawkeyes second-leading score, Anthony Tucker, was arrested for public intoxication for the second time in a little more than a year. The sophomore was picked up early Sunday morning and posted on his Face Book page that he was back home in Minnesota.
Athletics Director Gary Barta said on Sunday that Tucker was suspended indefinitely. Coach Todd Lickliter reaffirmed that after Monday's game. It sounded like the window was still open on the player returning to the team.
"He's on a leave of absence," Lickliter said. "He needs to get the things settled as far as his situation with the arrest. He needs to get that settled and then we can talk about the rest of it after that."
Matt Gatens rooms with Tucker and said he expects his teammate to return to the program. Their conversation is ongoing.
"It's a tough deal," Gatens said. "We're family here. When somebody is down, somebody else has to step up.
"He knows he made a mistake. He's feeling sorry for it. But I'm sure he was watching tonight and probably feeling a little better we won. We're going to need him back and we're thinking about him."
Tucker missed the second semester of last season due to academics. He also was arrested for public intoxication after being found in the ally outside a downtown bar in early December of 2008.
In addition to being a sharpshooter, Tucker served as the backup point guard behind Payne. Redshirt freshman walk-on John Lickliter moved into that spot on Monday.
John Lickliter played for the first time in his college career. The 5-foot-11 son of the head coach registered two points and two rebounds in five minutes. He had an assist and a turnover and missed both three-point attempts.
It looks like Payne will get plenty of work this season if Tucker misses it.
Iowa essentially put the game away with a 22-6 run during the final 8:44 of the first half. The Hawkeyes entered the locker room with a 46-30 lead. May scored all 12 of his first-half points in the spurt.
Matt Gatens put together his fourth really good game in a row, scoring 20, handing out eight assists (two turnovers) and pulling down five rebounds. The sophomore has paced the team in scoring in the last four contests.
The smallest actual crowd of the season watched the Hawkeyes improve to 5-7. South Carolina State fell to 6-3.
"I thought in longer stretches we played more consistently, the way we need to play," Lickliter said. "I thought we played a sounder game, where we were containing the ball and getting back."
-Cole limped off of the floor limping late in the game and was taken to the locker room. He did not return to the action. It appeared to be his right ankle.
Lickliter said that he expected Cole to be fine.
-Brennan Cougill is suffering from back spasms and played only 12 minutes on Monday.
-Devan Bawinkel started in place of Tucker. He came into the game averaging 17.6 minutes a game. He saw 22 on Monday.
-Devon Archie was absent from the bench for a third game in a row. Lickliter said last week that the junior college transfer was sick. The coach also has indicated that he'd like the forward to red shirt.
-Radio color man and former Hawkeye, Bobby Hanson, said on Monday's pre-game show that he would play Archie this season if healthy. He also said that Archie already had returned his home to Indianapolis for the holiday break.
-Iowa's 46 first-half points were the most scored by a Lickliter team in his two plus years at the school.
-The Hawkeyes return to action on the 29th in the Big Ten opener against Purdue at Carver.