IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa has been tabbed the Big Ten’s sleeper team this basketball season.
For the first 20 minutes Saturday, the Hawkeyes lived up to the billing. For all the wrong reasons. This was more like sleepwalking. Gardner-Webb led by as many 23 points and took a 38-18 edge into halftime.
But Iowa stormed back, starting the second half with a 24-4 run and winning 65-56 before an announced crowd of 11,852 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“That’s an ugly number, 47-18,” Gardner-Webb coach Chris Holtmann, looking at a final box score, said of Iowa’s second-half rally. “I think I’ll take this and burn it.”
The Hawkeye comeback was fueled from an unlikely spot on the floor. Iowa missed its first 12 3-point attempts, and had been 4-of-21 from that distance in an easy win against Howard on Thursday.
But Zach McCabe made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions. And then Josh Oglesby, who was 1-of-13 from 3 for the season at the time, got one to drop. Later, he gave the Iowa a 50-48 lead with back-to-back 3s.
Oglesby, who matched Aaron White with a team-high 13 points, came to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for some extra shooting Friday and Saturday with assistant coach Kirk Speraw.
“He changed a few things, and I got some extra shots up,” Oglesby said.
Speraw told Oglesby he was leaning back on his shot, and was standing straight up and not in a shooting position when he caught the ball.
“It helped, I think,” Oglesby said.
Starting with his consecutive triples, Oglesby and Devyn Marble scored 15 of Iowa’s 16 points in a stretch that put it in front, 60-52. Iowa made six of its last nine 3-point tries.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said he didn’t scream at halftime.
“When Coach came in, I think people were expecting him to yell and stuff li
ke that, but he was calm,” McCabe said. “He knew what we needed to do to win the game, and we knew what we needed to do. We just came out ready to play, unlike the first half.”
McCaffery said he’s ranted and raved at halftime before, but this didn’t seem like the proper time.
“It didn’t seem that would work,” McCaffery said. “We were doubting ourselves a little bit. We weren’t making plays.”
Gardner-Webb, coming off a 71-59 win at DePaul Thursday without two starters, got all the 50-50 balls, grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and made key shots. Iowa shot just 20 percent (5-for-25) in the first half.
“All the stuff we knew we had to do, we didn’t do,” McCaffery said. “It was a very frustrating 20 minutes for all of us.”
The second half was dramatically different. Iowa shot 50 percent in the second half (14-for-28), Gardner Webb just 19.2 percent (15-for-36). Iowa blocked five shots in the final 20 minutes.
“We really defended the second half,” McCaffery said.
Every Iowa player on the floor made effort plays that didn’t show up in the box score, something missing the first half.
“They played a lot harder the second half, and we didn’t respond with poise,” Holtmann said.
Marble, Iowa’s leading scorer at 17 points a game, scored all 11 of his points in the second half. Freshman center Adam Woodbury was as big a spark as anyone, scoring eight of his 12 points and grabbing six of his eight rebounds in the second half. White and Oglesby both had nine of their 13 points in the second half.
“We outfought them, outrebounded them and we weren’t so tentative the second half,” Oglesby said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball