LINCOLN, Neb. – Devyn Marble didn’t have it. His “A” game was back in Iowa City, or somewhere in between. He was scoreless in the first half Wednesday at the Devaney Center, and the second half didn’t start much better.
Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery took Marble out of the game and read him the riot act.
“He was a little sideways,” McCaffery said. “ I took him out and got into him. And as he typically does, he responded.”
Marble hit a pair of 3-pointers in transition, part of a decisive 18-5 second-half run that carried Iowa to a 62-53 Big Ten victory over Nebraska.
Asked about McCaffery’s dressing-down, a big smile broke out on Marble’s face.
“It’s going to happen, it’s basketball,” said Marble, who finished with 11 points. “We’re people. We’re not perfect. But I understood what the message was. He just told me to go out there and keep playing like one of the best players in the conference. That’s what I came out and tried to do.”
Iowa, now 16-14 overall and 8-9 in league play, matched the program’s league wins over the previous two seasons combined. And it marked the first time Iowa has won three Big Ten road games since the 2005-06 season.
Matt Gatens, who made 24-of-33 3-pointers and averaged 26.5 points over the previous four games, cooled off but still led Iowa with 16 points. Gatens made three-of-eight 3-pointers. And Bryce Cartwright, finally playing with some explosion off the dribble after spraining an ankle before the Penn State game Feb. 16, added 11 points. That was his best offensive game since 17 points against the Nittany Lions in Iowa City Feb. 4.
Cartwright also got in McCaffery’s doghouse for a stretch Wednesday. Turnovers ended Iowa’s final five possessions of the first half. The Hawkeyes didn’t score in the last 5½ minutes and led at the break 23-19.
“I think I was trying to go faster than I actually can,” Cartwright said.
Brandon Ubel led Nebraska with a career-high 17 points, but the Huskers shot just 36.5 percent from the floor and made just four-of-24 3-point attempts.
“We defended really well in this game,” McCaffery said. “The last time we played (a 79-73 Nebraska win in Iowa City Jan. 26) they took it to us on the dribble-drive and ran it down our throats. We didn’t play great offense (Wednesday), but we defended.”
Iowa did shoot 52 percent in the second half, thanks to a 4:11 flurry that broke the game open. Nebraska had gotten within 31-30 with 14:59 to play. Iowa responded by making its next seven shots, four of them 3-pointers, to take a 49-35 lead with 10 minutes to play.
Gatens started the run with a 3. Marble scored his first basket of the game on a drive, sandwiched around Caleb Walker’s baseline slam dunk for the Cornhuskers. Gatens hit another 3, then Marble buried back-to-back 3s in transiton. A Gatens fast-break dunk and Cartwright’s 3 — he had been 1-of-9 from 3 during the Big Ten season — gave Iowa the 14-point lead it was able to take to the house.
Iowa can finish .500 in Big Ten play when it hosts Northwestern in the regular-season finale Saturday.
“And we could still be the seventh seed (in the Big Ten Tournament),” Cartwright said. “We definitely still have stuff to play for.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball