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Iowa basketball not pretty in victory over Boilermakers

BY TOM CLOS | FEBRUARY 28, 2013 5:00 AM

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Iowa and Purdue played one of the ugliest games of the Big Ten season last month in West Lafayette.
In their latest meeting, in Iowa City on Wednesday, the two teams may have topped it.

Junior guard Devyn Marble and sophomore forward Aaron White combined for 36 points to lead the Hawkeyes to a 58-48 victory over the Boilermakers in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Wednesday evening. Iowa (18-10, 7-8 Big Ten) has now won four of its last five games; Purdue (13-15, 6-9) has lost four of its last five.

After a disastrous first half that saw the teams combine to shoot just 13-of-51 (25.5 percent) from the field and 2-for-12 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range — Marble woke up Iowa’s offense and helped it pull away for good in the second period.

Marble shot 4-of-8 from the field in the final period, and 13 of the upperclassman’s 18 came following the intermission. In total, eight different players scored for the Black and Gold on a night in which they never trailed.

“I made an effort to get everybody on the floor going; just probing and seeing things,” Marble said. “Then I looked to be aggressive late and close the game out.”

Playing without injured freshman point guard Mike Gesell, the Hawkeyes showed no signs of his absence by storming out of the gate to an 11-4 lead five minutes into the contest.

And then came the drought.

Sophomore forward Gabe Olaesni’s lay-up with 12:42 remaining in the first frame was the Hawkeyes’ last field goal of the half. The dry spell lasted into the second half until Marble broke the slump with a jumper a little over a minute into the frame. In total, the Hawkeyes went 13:43 without a made basket.

“It was just kind of the flow of the game. I don’t think our offense was bad; it was just an ugly game really,” White said. “The good news is we took care of the ball better and at least got shots to the basket.”

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery wasn’t pleased how his offense disappeared for such a long time, but the third-year leader was impressed with his group’s ability to hold onto the lead especially without such a drought.

“We played phenomenal defense the entire game,” McCaffery said. “We had opportunities in that stretch and we had some clean looks. We got the ball to the right people, we just didn’t make them.”

White wasn’t surprised with the offensive struggles his crew experienced throughout the night. The Strongsville, Ohio, native noted that the Boilermakers’ game plan is to make everything tough and make each point a struggle.

“They want to beat you up on the glass and be physical — that’s what they do,” White said. “We did a good job playing with them and beating them on the glass.”

Though it wasn’t a particularly pretty affair, in the home stretch of the regular-season, each win is a big win for Iowa, and Wednesday night was no different. The Hawkeyes entered the game needing a victory against an under-.500 team, and they were happy to get it.

No matter what it looked like.

“It seems like every team struggles with Purdue; they make the game gritty, and that’s how they want it,” Marble said. “You just have to grind it out against teams like this. It’s not going to be pretty, but you’ve just got to make sure you get the win at the end of the day.”


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