IOWA CITY — Iowa coach Fran McCaffery considered changing his starting lineup but decided against it entering the Hawkeyes’ game Sunday at Purdue.
Freshman center Adam Woodbury has struggled offensively, scoring just two points in each of Iowa’s last four games. Junior center/forward Melsahn Basabe, who has 52 career starts, played a season-high 27 minutes at Ohio State on Tuesday, while Woodbury finished with a season-low seven minutes.
“We are comfortable with our starting lineup,” McCaffery said Friday. “We feel comfortable with Eric (May) and Melsahn in particular; they’ve been phenomenal off the bench. They seem to really do well.
“If I felt like it would help Adam to come off the bench, I might make a change and tell Melsahn, ‘Hey, you’re starting,’ or something like that. But right now we’ll still go with what we got.”
Basabe suffered a pair of sprained ankles in late December and has improved his stamina and his production. Basabe has averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds over Iowa’s last four games. He’s also made 15 of 22 shots from the field and 9-of-12 from the free-throw line over that span.
“He played tremendously well in spurts,” McCaffery said. “He’s a runner, he’s a jumper, he’s an offensive rebounder, he’s a shot blocker. It takes tremendous energy to play that way and impact the game that way. So to be able to leave him out there and have him consistently perform at that level was really impressive.”
Woodbury, who stands 7-foot-1, contributed in other areas other than scoring before his recent stretch. He combined for 15 rebounds against Indiana and Michigan. Even in his two-point performance against Northwestern, Woodbury grabbed nine rebounds in 12 minutes.
“I think what Adam has to do — and this is what he’s working on — is that he has to impact the game in a variety of different ways,” McCaffery said. “That’s his strength. He wants to score; we want him to score. But he can’t view himself as being a success or failure purely on many points he gets. He’s a runner, he’s a rebounder, he’s a really good passer, he’s not a mistake guy. He has good basketball I.Q. If he does all of those things, and then offensive rebounds, his offense will come around, and he will be much more comfortable out there because he’s impacting the game on many different levels. I think that’s what he has continue to work on.”
Here's Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery's post-game press conference at Ohio State: