Members of the Iowa men’s basketball team performed a different kind of court storming near the end of Tuesday’s 63-55 victory over Illinois at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Iowa players all leaped off the bench and rushed toward sophomore guard Josh Oglesby, who had just made consecutive 3-point baskets to force an Illinois timeout with the Hawkeyes leading 54-46 with 3 minutes, 20 seconds left to play.
“When they ran out, obviously, that’s a great feeling,” Oglesby said of his teammates. “When (Illinois) called the timeout, I sort of looked back and I saw everyone come up.”
The victory improved Iowa’s records to 19-11 overall and 8-9 in the Big Ten heading into Saturday’s regular-season finale against Nebraska at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa has surpassed its 18-win total from last season and also matched the eight games it won in the conference a year ago.
Illinois, which fell to 21-10 overall and 8-9 in the Big Ten, had won nine of the previous 11 games against Iowa and the last three in a row in a row at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Oglesby’s back-to-back treys came during a 9-0 scoring run after Illinois had trimmed the deficit to 48-46 on two free throws by senior guard Brandon Paul with 4:45 remaining. Junior guard Devyn Marble also converted a traditional 3-point play, expanding Iowa’s lead to 57-46 with 1:39 remaining.
“That ended up being the difference in the game,” Illinois coach John Groce said of Iowa’s 9-0 scoring run. “We’ve got no excuses. We can’t lose (Oglesby).
“He’s one of their better shooters and is certainly known as a shooter, and we lose him twice and then we let Marble beat us and get an and-one in the middle of the floor. It was a great play by him.”
The 6-foot-6 Marble led Iowa in scoring with 21 points and made all 10 of his free throws. He now is just two points shy of reaching 1,000 points in his career.
Oglesby was the only other player for Iowa to score in double figures with 10 points. It marked just the third time in 17 Big Ten games that Oglesby has scored in double figures.
The former Cedar Rapids Washington star entered Tuesday’s game shooting just 26.8 percent from the field and 26.0 percent from 3-point range.
Oglesby was asked after the game how he has kept the faith despite his prolonged shooting woes.
“Just keep believing and keep shooting,” Oglesby said. “Coach has told me that all year, just stay with my shot and keep shooting.”
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery finally was rewarded for his faith in Oglesby, but the situation didn’t look promising at halftime with Oglesby having missed all three of his shots from 3-point range.
“Every time he shoots it, I think it’s going in,” McCaffery said. “I think he does, too.
“I asked at halftime, I said, ‘How do they feel?’ He said they felt good. I just said, ‘Keep shooting and we’ll keep coming to you.’”
Iowa finished with 12 blocks against Illinois, which tied both the school and arena record. Sophomore center Gabe Olaseni led the swat attack with a career-high six blocks. He had only blocked five shots in the previous 16 Big Ten games.
“Fortunately, we had Gabe back there tonight,” McCaffery said. “He was sort of taking care of business for us.”
The game couldn’t have started any better for Iowa, which bolted to leads of 15-4 and 22-12 in the first half.
Freshman center Adam Woodbury scored Iowa’s first four points and had six by halftime. Only twice had Woodbury scored more than four points in a Big Ten game this season. He finished with eight points, five rebounds and two blocks.
Olaseni made a basket to expand Iowa’s lead to 22-12 with 6:31 left in the first half.
But then Illinois answered with a 3-pointer by senior forward Tyler Griffey with 6:09 remaining. His trey triggered an 8-0 scoring run that turned into a 16-9 scoring run by the Illini to close out the first half.
Illinois only trailed by three points at halftime despite shooting a frigid 26.5 percent in the first half. The Illini compensated for their shooting woes by making 7-of-11 free throws in the first half, whereas Iowa only attempted two free throws in the first half, making one. Iowa made 15-of-18 free throws in the second half.
Paul led Illinois with 18 points, but he only made 6-of-15 field-goal attempts. Illinois only made 18-of-63 shots as a team, including 9-of-29 from 3-point range.
“They blocked a lot, we’ve got to take it up stronger, guards and bigs,” Paul said. “We’ve got to find other ways to make points.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball