Iowa sophomore point guard Mike Gesell knew that last night’s highly anticipated Prime Time League playoffs game featured a rematch with fellow Hawkeye point guard Anthony Clemmons would be a heated competition and he was right.
“Whenever we step on the floor it’s a competition,” Gessel said. “We’re both competitive guys. We love to go after each other. You’ll definitely see us going at each other on Thursday.”
Clemmons claimed bragging rights over fellow Iowa point guard Mike Gesell last night after beating the Sioux City, NE native twice during summer league competition. The Lansing, Mich. and Jared Uthoff fueled their team to a 102-95 victory, securing a place in Sunday afternoon’s championship game.
Initially it looked as if there could be another upset brewing during the early portions of last night’s second contest of the Prime Time League playoffs. Gesell’s team came out with a lot energy by taking a 27-25 lead ten minutes into the first half behind the sophomore guard’s hot shooting. Coach Randy Larson and his players were visibly frustrated with their play as he had to call a timeout in order for his team to gather themselves.
“When times got hard, I thought we needed to pick up our intensity on defense,” Clemmons said. “We just needed to rebound and get the loose balls. We they were making their run, we just told each other to pick up the intensity.”
Larson’s team looked completely different after the short break as they increased defensive pressure and intensity in the half’s final ten minutes. Great defense turned into great offense as turnovers and missed shots enabled Uthoff and Clemmons to make numerous highlight real plays on the fast break. They were the driving forces behind a 35-18 run to close the half, where Larson’s team led 60-43.
Gesell’s team slowly chipped away at the 17 point deficit in the second half and began to mount a comeback until the Black and Gold sophomore left the game with an apparent thumb injury. His team fought hard his absence, trimming the lead down to 93-88, but they ultimately couldn’t fight off elimination. Clemmons finished with 30 points to go along with 7 assists, outdueling Gesell’s 22 points and 5 assists before he left the contest midway through the second half.
Uthoff finished with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting in his final Prime Time League game this summer. The junior will be at the East-Coast All-Stars training camp at Fordham University, preparing for their trip to Estonia, where they’ll take on some of the top FIBA international teams starting July 23.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity, I can’t say enough,” Uthoff said. “It’s getting to play basketball, especially overseas, in a different type of game and get that experience over there.”
Players on each side seem eager to claim bragging rights in Sunday’s upcoming championship bout. Marble will be looking to start off his senior year with a Prime Time League crown while Clemmons is seeking to defend last season’s title. It should be a fun one to watch.
“Get ready for a show, that’s all I have to say,” Clemmons said.