IOWA CITY, Ia. – Devyn Marble has needled Iowa teammate Josh Oglesby a time or two.
“I tease him,” Marble admitted. “I say, ‘Will you knock down a shot for me?’ ”
Oglesby entered Tuesday’s game with Illinois shooting just 26 percent from 3. In Big Ten play? Only 22.9 percent. Numbers that are nothing to joke about.
But with 4 minutes to play, and Iowa’s lead down to a precarious 48-46 margin, Oglesby nailed back-to-back triples that were the pivotal moment in the Hawkeyes’ 63-55 victory before an announced crowd of 14,566.
“Keep shooting, Coach (Fran McCaffery) has told me that all year,” said Oglesby, who was replaced in the starting lineup by Eric May on Tuesday. “Keep shooting. They’ll eventually fall.”
Iowa also tied a school record with 12 blocked shots, six by Gabe Olaseni, while improving to 19-11 overall and 8-9 in the Big Ten. That’s the most victories since the 2005-06 season.
“Six blocks,” Olaseni said. “That means they didn’t get 12 points. I’ve got to do more of that.”
Oglesby had already missed four triples in the game, making him two-of-19 over the last six games. He then made two in just :42.
Illinois called a time out after the second one. The Iowa team leaped off the bench and swarmed Oglesby as he made his way to the huddle.
“I told him I was going to keep getting him the ball,” Marble said. “It’s up to him to make the shots. I have faith in him. The whole team has faith in him.”
Marble’s conventional three-point play, on the possession after Oglesby’s threes, gave Iowa an insurmountable 11-point lead.
“We can’t lose him,” Illinois coach John Groce said of Oglesby. “We lost him twice.”
The game over, McCaffery gave Oglesby a hug as they waited to be interviewed on the Big Ten Network.
“He’s tried so hard to do what he did (Tuesday) all the time,” McCaffery said. “It would be different if he wasn’t putting the time in, if he wasn’t a great teammate. That’s why you saw me hugging him.”
It was a gesture Oglesby appreciated.
“He said he’s really proud of me,” Oglesby said. “Fran is the man.”
Marble led the Hawkeyes with 21 points. It’s the fourth time in seven games that Marble has scored at least 20. He needs two more to reach 1,000 points for his career. He’ll join his father, Roy, as the only father-son tandem in Big Ten history to score a grand.
“I guess that would mean a lot to me and my dad,” Devyn said. “Especially him, since he’s not playing anymore. But we’ve got to get a win Saturday (against Nebraska). That’s the key.”
Brandon Paul led Illinois, 21-10 overall and 8-9 in the Big Ten, with 18 points. Illinois missed 15 of its first 16 field-goal attempts and finished the game at 28.6 percent. Twelve blocks had something to do with that.
“My dad taught me one time that if you hit a wall, and it hurts, don’t run into it again,” Groce said. “So when you drive, you might want to pass.”
Iowa shot just 28 percent the second half and 38.9 percent for the game, but its defense was solid.
“Last year we would have lost, 77-63, if we shot 28 percent the second half,” McCaffery said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball