IOWA CITY — Men’s coach Fran McCaffery rolled to the floor in a giant basketball. Women’s coach Lisa Bluder floated on a chair carried by her players.
Iowa basketball returned to Carver-Hawkeye Arena with sizzle and flair before 7,140 fans Friday night. The Black & Gold Blowout featured fireworks and pyrotechnics, complete with pump-up intro music and the pep band. Women’s sophomore Claire Till took the stage and lit up the arena with her dance. Men’s sophomore Anthony Clemmons cooled it off with his sunglasses and hat.
Junior center Gabe Olaseni brought down the arena in the dunk contest. He sprinted full-court, leaped from the free-throw line and slammed it down, a la, Michael Jordan in 1988. Freshman Ally Disterhoft displayed the skills that earned her Parade All-American honors last year at Iowa City West. The teams scrimmaged with little defense but lots of enthusiasm.
“It’s just a great event, and I think the fans enjoyed it,” Iowa junior Aaron White said. “It’s just a good way to kind of kick off the season. We start in a week with the exhibition. It’s really an exciting time of year. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
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