Marble, White tag team in Iowa men’s hoops 66-36 victory
The ball left Devyn Marble’s hand. It hit the front end of the rim and bounced off the top of the backboard before falling through the net for another 3 points midway through the second half.
Marble simply couldn’t miss in Iowa’s 66-36 victory over Howard on Thursday night and scored 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He carried the Hawkeye offense in the first half with 15 points.
Marble was riding the high and said he never doubted his shot, even when it hit the top of the glass.
“I just wanted it not to bounce too high where the ref would have said it was out of bounds,” Marble said. “I knew it was going in, because it felt good when it left my hands. I was more surprised about how it went in. But once I saw it bounce, and it hit the way it did, I knew it was going in.”
Marble acknowledged he may have benefited from a home-rim advantage, though.
“I paid my dues,” he said and laughed. “I deserve that kind of love from my court.”
But he missed his next attempt from behind the arc, one he admitted was taken perhaps too early in the possession. He was taken out a few moments later, and sophomore Aaron White suggested his teammate had come back to earth.
“He came back with a heat check, thinking he was hot,” White said about Marble’s missed shot and laughed.
White stepped up in the final 20 minutes and lent Marble a hand.
Most of White’s 16 points came in the second half; he went 8-for-9 from the free-throw line after halftime. He got the crowd on its feet after the intermission with a pair of highlight reel dunks, including an alley-oop from freshman point guard Mike Gesell.
White grabbed a defensive rebound, led the fast break down the floor, and passed the ball off to Gesell just past half court. He then appeared to give Gesell a look, calling for a lob pass.
“I saw the play at half court,” White said. “I threw it up to Mike, got it in his hands, and he made a play. The guard stayed down, and [Gesell] just threw it up, and I finished it.”
The play electrified the crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and Gesell said he had no doubt White would bring up the energy in the building.
“Oh, I knew Whitey could get up,” Gesell said. “I knew if I just put it up near the rim, he’d get it.”
The Hawkeyes pushed the tempo more in the second half, and Marble said the key was strong rebounding. Iowa out-rebounded Howard, 22-15, after intermission and immediately looked to press the ball up the floor. They also locked down on Howard’s fast break opportunities and allowed no points on the break.
White said the team has put more emphasis on defense, particularly in transition, an area that plagued the Hawkeyes last season. They won games by trying to outscore teams last year, he said, and they ended up in the NIT. So they need to be able to shut opponents down, especially on nights when they aren’t shooting well.
White and Marble accounted for the majority of Iowa’s scoring, and no other Hawkeye scored more than 8 points. It was a cold night for Black and Gold shooters — the Hawkeyes were just 4-for-21 from behind the arc — but Marble said White’s performance took pressure off of him and kept the Bison defense honest.
“Whitey got off a little slower today than he would have liked, but he finished strong with 16 [points],” Marble said. “We need that from him, and I need that from him. It spreads the defense out so teams can’t key too much on me.”
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