Turnovers, shooting, still issues in Hawkeyes’ victory over Howard
Expect the game tape from Iowa’s victory over Howard to make the rounds throughout Big Ten country before conference play opens in January.
Because whatever the Bison were doing defensively, conference foes will surely want to replicate it against the Hawkeye men’s basketball team.
The 66-36 final score may suggest to the naked eye a complete performance, but a closer look at the box score reveals some serious areas of deficiency on display Thursday.
For starters, Iowa shot a putrid 19 percent (4-21) from 3-point range, the main offenders being sophomores forward Aaron White and guard Josh Oglesby, who went a combined 0-9 from downtown. White was one of just two players to reach double figures for the home team, the other being junior guard Devyn Marble.
Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery wasn’t alarmed with his squad’s poor shooting display. He said he felt his team put itself in a good position to make open shots. It just wasn’t happening against Howard.
“If you have the wrong guy shooting contested shots, well, that’s a problem, but that wasn’t the problem tonight,” McCaffery said. “They just didn’t go in.”
White shared his coach’s sentiment and noted his team is much better than what the stat-sheet indicated.
“We had some great looks, all of them for open. [Oglesby] was 0-5, but he’s going to make those in the future,” White said. “We’ve just got to keep shooting them with confidence because they’re going to drop.”
Turnovers had been a problem through the first two games for Iowa (14.0 per game average) and the issue returned in the second half against Howard. After just committing four giveaways in the opening frame, Iowa handed the ball over seven times in the final 20 minutes.
Marble was by far the best Hawkeye on the floor, leading the team with 22 points and 2 assists, but he handed the ball to the other side twice in that second half.
“I’m OK with my night, but I don’t like the fact that I had two turnovers, to be honest with you,” Marble said. “It really makes me mad.”
The upperclassman added “grind-it-out” games such as these build character for a team, especially in the nonconference season when the quality of talent on the other end isn’t very high.
“At the end of the day, this is probably good for us early on in the season,” Marble said. “It makes us play defense to keep teams from getting close to us in games.”
McCaffery wasn’t thrilled with the misses but said he had little to regret about Thursday’s output.
“The only thing you could’ve said was that a couple of times we shot it quick,” McCaffery said. “But everybody was open, so I’m very comfortable with the shots we took.”
If the Hawkeyes want a sign that offensive issues can change on a dime, they need to look no further than Marble’s big night against Howard.
The star player shot 37 percent from the field through the Hawkeyes’ opening two games against the University of Texas-Pan American and Central Michigan. Thursday, he went 9-of-15 on field-goal attempts, good enough for a 60 percent clip.
His solution was simple and he hopes his teammates will follow his lead, much like they did against the Bison.
“They’re gonna start falling sooner or later, so you’ve got to keep shooting,” Marble said. “If you don’t keep shooting, you don’t give yourself a chance to make any.”
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