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7/30/2014: PTL Championship preview

Posted on 30. Jul, 2014 by in Iowa Basketball

By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

2014 Prime Time League Championship Game:

No. 4 Westport Touchless Autowash/IAHomesForSale (4-2) vs. No. 2 Culver’s/McCurry’s (3-2)

When: Thursday, July 31, 7 p.m. CT

Where: Roberts Gym, North Liberty Community Center

How Autowash/Homes got to this point: Autowash/Homes is currently riding a three-game winning streak, which includes a 100-96 first round victory over Vinton Merchants/Marion Iron Company on July 17 and more recently, a 99-96 win in the semifinals last week over top-seeded Jill Armstrong of Skogman Realty.

The biggest contributor for Autowash/Homes (both in size and production) has been junior center Adam Woodbury, who has easily been one of the two best Iowa players in the PTL this summer (the other being Jarrod Uthoff). Woodbury shot 60 percent from the floor in six PTL games and posted averages of 23.7 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. However, Woodbury will not be available for Autowash/Homes on Thursday as both he and Mike Gesell are playing in the Four Nations Cup, which is taking place in Estonia. The other commonality during Autowash/Homes’ current win streak has been the play of junior guard Anthony Clemmons. Following a 3-point showing in his first game of the summer back on July 3, Clemmons has averaged 23 points per game over the last three weeks and he’ll be seeking his third consecutive PTL championship when he takes the floor Thursday night.

How Culver’s/McCurry’s got to this point: Culver’s/McCurry’s earned a first round bye after winning a four-way tie for second place via coin flip back on July 10. Last week in the PTL semifinals, it cruised to an easy 101-74 victory over third-seeded L.L. Pelling/Comfort Care Medicare.

Leading the charge is senior forward Aaron White, who is currently averaging 19 points per contest this summer. Culver’s/McCurry’s also gained a spark earlier in the month when incoming sophomore guard Trey Dickerson joined the team upon his Iowa City arrival. In three games this summer, Dickerson has averaged 16.3 points and seven assists per contest. Last week against Pelling/Comfort Care, White finished with a double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds while Dickerson had 15 points and eight assists.

How they’ve fared against each other: The only previous meeting between these two teams came on the league’s opening night, June 19. Since neither Clemmons nor Dickerson was on campus yet when this game happened, the only two Hawkeyes who played were White and Woodbury.

White’s squad ended up with the upper hand, 95-89, as he emerged with a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds. Woodbury came away one rebound shy of a double-double himself as he posted 27 points and nine boards that evening.

What to watch for: Seeing how both teams were missing their starting point guards when they met the first time, the match-up to watch Thursday night will be Clemmons going toe-to-toe with Dickerson. Both players have acknowledged being highly motivated to face the other and it’s a match-up that should be compelling to watch, especially if neither ends up cracking Iowa’s starting five when the 2014-15 season arrives.

The other thing to keep an eye on is how Autowash/Homes adjusts without having Woodbury. On one hand, his absence will likely lead to more outside shooting and mid-range jumpers. Defensively, Autowash/Homes will have to account for White, who will be looking to consistently drive to the basket and draw contact every chance he gets.

Possible X-factors: It seems somewhat crazy to call one of Iowa’s best players an X-factor, but in this particular case, White is definitely someone who will make the difference one way or the other for Culver’s/McCurry’s. Like Clemmons, White is also seeking his third PTL championship (his would be three in four years). He’s also the only Iowa player available for either team that played in the first meeting, meaning there’s already familiarity with the other personnel Autowash/Homes has. If White goes for another double-double and does so with pretty good shooting numbers, Culver’s/McCurry’s might win going away again like it did last week.

UNI’s Matt Bohannon will be the X-factor for Autowash/Homes in this game, especially if he’s shooting unconscious from behind the arc. But Clemmons is also worth keeping an eye on and not just because he’ll have the responsibility of guarding Dickerson. He faced a very similar situation last summer when he led his team to the PTL crown, as it was missing Uthoff for the very same reason Autowash/Homes will be without Woodbury on Thursday.

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