Iowa 63, Western Kentucky 55: Freshman point guard Mike Gesell scored 19 points and Melsahn Basabe added 11 off the bench as the Hawkeyes continued their best start in nearly a decade with a victory in the semifinals of the Cancun Classic.
Roy Devyn Marble added 10 points and has scored in double digits in each game this season for Iowa (5-0), which is off to its best start since winning its first six games of the 2003-04 season.
The Hawkeyes never trailed, and the last tie was at 3-3 in the opening minutes. Western Kentucky was within 55-48 until Gesell converted a three-point play to push the lead to 58-48 with 1:59 left.
T.J. Price scored 16 points and Jamal Crook had 14 to lead the Hilltoppers (2-2), who shot only 33.3 percent and were 5-for-21 from 3-point range.
Gesell, who had scored a total of five points in the previous two games, was 7-for-10 from the field and made 3 of 5 3-pointers.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Iowa improved to 18-0 the past two seasons when holding opponents to less than 60 points. The Hawkeyes have not allowed more than 61 points this season. … Iowa is 10-2 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. This was the first meeting between the schools. … Western Kentucky will face DePaul in the consolation game at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday with Iowa playing Wichita State in the championship game to follow.