Iowa men's basketball comes through in the clutch against Badgers

BY TORK MASON | JANUARY 21, 2013 6:30 AM

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Devyn Marble stared down Wisconsin’s Ryan Evans on the left wing with the shot clock winding down and the Hawkeyes clinging to a 6-point lead. He crossed over once, twice, three times before stepping back behind the arc and rising above Evans’ outstretched arm. 

Marble knew, as soon as he released the ball, he had given the Hawkeyes a 60-51 advantage with 2:35 remaining in the game.

“It was a really good release; it came in rhythm off of the crossover,” he said. “I had a good thought that it was in.”

It was a critical shot at a critical juncture in Iowa’s 70-66 victory over the Badgers on Jan. 19 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Wisconsin went into halftime down, 38-18, but shot a blistering 59 percent from the floor in the second frame and had the Black and Gold on their heels. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery didn’t undersell the effect of Marble’s shot.

“It was huge,” McCaffery said. “We stumbled a little bit. We were sputtering a lead. We tried to run some clock because in the stretch before that we were quick-shooting the ball a little bit. So you milk the clock, then you hit a step-back [3-pointer] — that’s huge.”

Iowa kept the Badgers at arm’s length down the stretch with a strong effort at the charity stripe. The Hawkeyes hit 17 of their 21 second-half free-throw attempts, including 10-of-12 in the final 1:14. 

Freshman Anthony Clemmons and sophomore Aaron White were given chances to redeem themselves after missing free throws late in the loss against Michigan State. The Badgers wanted Clemmons on the line — a Wisconsin defender could be heard shouting to foul the freshman as soon as he received a pass from White with 56 seconds remaining. But the Lansing, Mich., native responded with a pair of drained free throws to give Iowa an 8-point cushion.

White, who finished with a team-leading 17 points on a 13-of-15 effort from the line, said he came into the game with a purpose.

“I was going to make mine,” he said. “After that Michigan State game, I wasn’t going to miss the clutch one at the end of the game.”

Marble said he wasn’t surprised by his teammates’ response. Free throws at the end aren’t any different from those at the beginning, he said.

“A lot of people just think about the pressure of making it too much,” he said. “It’s nothing different from at the beginning of the game. You can’t let the importance throw you off, and I think that’s what happens to a lot of players. You’ve just got to stay with your ritual and do what you’ve been doing in the gym when there’s nobody there, and block everything else out.”

The win and clutch performance gives Iowa (13-5, 2-3 Big Ten) some positive momentum as it heads into Tuesday night’s road contest with Ohio State. 

“It’s good for our team and a good confidence booster, winning two in a row in the league,” White said.

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