QU men’s basketball team looks to gain experience, show determination in exhibition against Iowa


Quincy University men's basketball coach Steve Hawkins, left, and senior guard Zion Richardson discuss a play during a practice leading up to Monday's exhibition game at the University of Iowa. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Zion Richardson sees two significant benefits to the Quincy University men’s basketball team playing an exhibition game at the University of Iowa.

“Experience and reps,” the senior guard said. 

The Hawks need both. QU officially opens its season Nov. 10 against Cedarville in the GLVC-GMAC Challenge in Kirksville, Mo., but with a roster in which 10 of the 15 players are freshmen and sophomores, getting on-court experience now is vital.

Quincy and Iowa are scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. Monday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City in the Hawks’ lone exhibition of the preseason. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Plus network, which can be accessed online at bigtenplus.com, and broadcast on WGEM 105.1 FM.

“This will be a great chance to play against somebody different,” said Richardson, the 6-foot-4 guard who is the top returning scorer at 11.4 points per game. “We’ve been beating each other up for a couple weeks, almost a month now. Playing against different competition in a great arena will be key.

“Make sure our offense is solid. Make sure our defense is solid. Push our way toward the season.”

Those reps are more important than the outcome.

“I’m not worried about the score,” QU coach Steve Hawkins said. “Can we improve on our system? We have only one exhibition game, so this is our opportunity to play against somebody different. We’ll take it and 10 days later we’ll get started.”

The Hawks return six players who saw 14 or more minutes per game last season, although senior forward Solomon Gustafson is currently out with a back issue. Two others saw limited action, while seven players on QU’s roster have never played in an NCAA game. 

“It will help our determination,” said sophomore point guard Isaiah Foster, who averaged 25 minutes, 7.8 points and nearly three assists per game last season. “These guys haven’t played a game yet. We have a lot of new guys. So this is going to help us a lot with our confidence and our determination seeing how good Iowa is and competing against them.”

Iowa returns two seniors with extensive experience in Patrick McCaffery and Tony Perkins, but there are eight newcomers on the roster, including former Moline standouts Brock Harding and Owen Freeman. The Hawkeyes were picked ninth in the Big Ten preseason media poll.

“You’re going up against a Big Ten team with a great coach and a great program,” Hawkins said. “They play hard. They play really, really hard. They are a little young, kind of like us, but we’re going to have to play hard to compete.”

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