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Iowa men's hoops takes on Royce White, Iowa State

BY JORDAN GARRETSON | DECEMBER 09, 2011 7:20 AM

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The last time the Iowa men's basketball team matched up against an elite inside-outside player, things didn't go well. Creighton's Doug McDermott ripped the Hawkeyes for 25 points and 9 rebounds on Nov. 20.

Royce White is capable of inflicting similar damage.

Iowa (5-4) will have to slow down the sophomore forward when it plays Iowa State (6-3) at Hilton Coliseum in Ames at 7:05 p.m. today.

White — a 6-8, 270-pounder in his first year of action with the Cyclones after transferring from Minnesota — leads Iowa State and ranks among the Big 12's top-10 in points (14.8 per game), rebounds (9.9), and assists (4.2).

"He's really a unique player," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "Very few guys his size can handle the ball like he can. He's smart enough to know that he can bring it down and make plays off the dribble and get to the rim. But he also goes inside. And he offensive rebounds. And he posts …"
McCaffery went on and on.

"I don't know that I can remember too many guys that big and strong who have that sort of complete skills," he said.

Conventional wisdom suggests that the Hawkeyes simply double-team White. But Iowa State's outside shooting renders that difficult. The Cyclones' 9.3 treys per game rank 10th in the country. Three players have hit 19 or more 3s this season — Chris Babb (27), Chris Allen (20), and Tyrus McGee (19).

The 3-point barrage is particularly concerning after Iowa allowed Northern Iowa to tie a season-high with 11 3-pointers in an 80-60 Panther win on Tuesday.

"We have to adjust to what lineup is on the floor," McCaffery said. "And try to do a better job of guarding the 3 and try to contain a guy [White] who's really talented."

Tuesday's loss was the Hawkeyes' first true road game. Iowa jumped to a 10-0 lead, but a late 21-2 Panther run proved too much. The Hawkeyes can't afford to fade late again if they plan on capturing their first regular-season win in Hilton Coliseum in more than 10 years (Dec. 8, 2001).

"It's a great preparation. It's going to be similar," senior guard Matt Gatens said after Tuesday's defeat at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls. "It's great to have something like this going in to Friday. Of course, we would rather have won … We didn't sustain their [Northern Iowa's] runs as well as we wanted to. I think it's a learning experience.

"We'll go get them [Iowa State] on Friday."

Marble likely to start again

Senior point guard Bryce Cartwright is still nursing a sore hamstring, McCaffery said on Thursday. Devyn Marble will likely start in his place for the second-straight game.

Cartwright suffered the injury against Brown on Dec. 3 and did not play against Tuesday. McCaffery said he didn't practice Wednesday and likely wouldn't Thursday.

Fortunately for the Hawkeyes, Marble has been one of the team's best players lately. The sophomore is averaging 11.2 points, 3.0 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.6 steals over his last five games.

"He's just getting better and better," McCaffery said. "… He was a catalyst at both ends of the floor for our team [against Northern Iowa]. He's just maturing right before your eyes."

Marble recorded a team-high 14 points and four assists while playing a career-best 37 minutes Tuesday. He suffered a concussion more than a month ago, causing him to sit out some early November practices, but he cites the injury as a helpful learning experience.

"I think it helped me more than it hurt me," Marble said. "I was able to see the mistakes that guys were making. It really helped me when I came back to understand what I need to do."

Follow DI men's basketball reporter Jordan Garretson on Twitter.


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