IOWA CITY, Ia. – Aaron White attempted one shot in the first half Sunday. It was blocked by Minnesota’s 5-foot-9 DeAndre Mathieu, who is 11 inches shorter than Iowa’s junior forward.
“I couldn’t believe that happened,” Devyn Marble, White’s teammate, said. “I don’t think he saw him coming.”
Marble had just one point at halftime and the 14th-ranked Hawkeyes trailed by two. But Josh Oglesby’s 3-point shot keep Iowa above water the first half. Then White and Marble, the Hawkeyes’ two leading scorers, combined for 33 of Iowa’s 53 second-half points in a 94-73 drubbing of Minnesota before a sellout crowd of 15,400 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa extended its home-court winning streak to 20 games and can tie the school record for this building against Michigan State on Jan. 28. The Hawkeyes, 15-3 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten, are off to their best league start since the 1996-97 season.
Iowa could go into Wednesday’s game at Michigan ranked in the top 10 for the first time since being ninth on Jan. 1, 2002.
“That would be cool,” White said. “Really cool. I really believe we can do something special. But it’s where you’re ranked at the end of March, or early April, that really counts.”
Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, whose team fell to 14-5 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten, said that Iowa has “the ability to make a deep run at this. I was really impressed with them. We certainly were humbled.”
Iowa’s depth was never more evident than on Sunday. With Marble and White spinning in neutral, Oglesby made all four 3-pointers he attempted in the half.
“That’s the beauty of our team,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said of the Hawkeyes’ depth.
Iowa was stuck in a 43-33 hole with just more than a minute to play in the first half. In the last 65 seconds, Mike Gesell scored a bucket and Oglesby nailed a pair of 3-pointers, the last with 4 seconds to go. Oglesby waived to the crowd as he left the floor.
“Just joy,” Oglesby said. “I was happy. And then Dev got going. It changed the whole complexion of the game.”
Marble scored on a conventional three-point play, then buried a pair of 3-pointers, all in the first 2:07 of the second half. Iowa outscored the Gophers 61-30 over the game’s final 21 minutes.
“That last minute (of the first half) turned us from a very confident team to not a very confident team,” Pitino said.
Marble’s nine-point flurry also got Iowa going defensively. Andre Hollins, who led Minnesota with 20 points, had just two free throws the second half.
White, whose first basket came when he caught a Marble airball from 3-point range and put it back in with 17:10 left, ended up with a team-high 18 points. Marble finished with 16 points.
“Dev and I both realized we didn’t have a good first half,” White said. “It was probably the worst half since we’ve played together. But we were both aggressive coming out the second half.”
White and Marble got plenty of help. Oglesby, who missed the first 12 games of the season with a foot injury, made five of his seven 3-pointers as part of a 17-point afternoon.
“I think this is the most confident I’ve been since I’ve been at Iowa,” the junior guard said.
Gabe Olaseni scored seven of his 12 points in the first half, helping fill the White-Marble void. Olaseni also had six offensive rebounds. Gesell had 11 points, five assists and just one turnover with more aggressive play at point guard. Zach McCabe had eight points, three assists and three steals. Iowa had a 43-18 edge in bench points.
“I think it’s just a further example of the talent we have across the board,” McCaffery said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball