Small lineup propels Hawkeyes over Chippewas, 73-61

BY TOM CLOS | NOVEMBER 13, 2012 6:30 AM

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The 10,578 people who nearly filled Carver-Hawkeye Arena seemed half asleep following a grueling, error-plagued first half by both Iowa and Central Michigan.

So, the Hawkeyes’ backcourt took it upon themselves to wake everyone up.

Junior guard Devyn Marble and freshmen guards Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons combined for 27 of the team’s 44 points following the intermission to help the Hawkeye men’s basketball team pull away from the Chippewas, 73-61, on Monday evening. Iowa is now 2-0 on the young season.

“We were just matching up to them. They took their center out and went small and quick,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “They were spreading us and driving the ball, so we had to put a team out that could contain penetration.”

Marble scored 10 points in the second frame and finished with a team-leading 18 to go along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists. He said he thrived using the guard-filled lineup, because of the fewer restrictions it placed on him.

“Personally, I really like [playing with two other guards], especially when I’m at [small forward],” Marble said. “They’re both handling the ball, so it frees me to be able to move around more and just be myself.”

Gesell had 11 points in the latter period as part of a night on which he recorded 15 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists. He said on an individual level, the first and second halves felt like night and day.

“I was really struggling in the first half, had turnovers and wasn’t making shots, but I knew I had to keep being aggressive,” he said. “Once we started attacking their defense more, it opened things up.”

Coming off the bench, Clemmons took on an increased workload of a starter’s role in the smaller set and didn’t disappoint Hawk fans. The East Lansing, Mich., native gave the Hawkeyes a 3-point lead at the intermission with a trey as time expired, before helping spur the Black and Gold on a 20-8 run early in the second half that put them ahead to stay.

“Coach told us [at halftime] that they came in with firepower, so we had to counterpunch,” Clemmons said. “We spaced their offense a little bit more [in the second half] to get them in a zone so we could cut more.”

The rookie added how seeing the personnel moves the Chippewas made forced him to internally prepare for the added role he ended up taking.

“I didn’t get in until there were about five minutes left in the first, and I just wanted to come in and give us a boost,” Clemmons said. “I knew I was going to have to come in and be aggressive because of the guard-filled lineup we had.”

The opening 20 minutes on Monday produced a box score neither side would be proud to hang on the refrigerator. The Hawkeyes and Chippewas combined to commit 24 turnovers and go 19-of-59 from the field. Eight of the 10 players who saw action for Iowa in the first half had at least one turnover.

Because it was so ugly, the Hawkeyes were forced to adjust their strategy to one that, in the end, Marble was delighted his coach opted for.

“We had to adjust to what they were doing — the team understood that,” Marble said. “It ended up being the right move.”

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