No three-point crutch for Iowa basketball

BY BEN ROSS | NOVEMBER 11, 2013 5:00 AM

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Iowa looked like the team everyone had heard about in its season-opening 82-39 win over the University of North Carolina-Wilmington on No. 8. But in Sunday’s contest against the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the Hawkeyes appeared as though they had taken a couple steps backward.

The Mavericks led for the most of the game, and held a 43-36 lead at half. Iowa couldn't get anything going, largely because of its inability to hit the long ball — a crutch a leaned on much of last season.

Iowa was 1-of-8 from beyond the arc in the first half and ended the game 3-of-14 overall. The Hawkeyes are a combined 7-of-26 from 3-point range in its first two games this season.

But Iowa got it together in the second half and was able to pull away in the final minutes of the game. Even though its 3-point shot was unreliable, Iowa senior guard Devyn Marble said that the lack of 3-point scoring didn’t affect the outcome of the game as much, because Nebraska-Omaha struggled making long shots as well. Marble also noted that his team was able to find other ways to win the game without utilizing the 3-pointer.

“It depends if they’re making 3s,” he said. “If the opposite team is making 3s, then it can be a struggle. They made a lot of tough shots, you have to give credit to them. We shot really well from the free-throw line. That’s how we supported ourselves as far as making up for the 3-point shooting.”

Iowa did excel at making free throws in the contest, going 38-of-49 at the charity stripe. Marble ended the day with 15 points, going 11-of-14 in his free throws.

“Luckily, we put it together and got to the free-throw line,” Iowa forward Aaron White said. “Thirty-eight makes for us, that’s where we want it to be.”

White ended the day with 20 points — 10-of-12 from the free throw line — and notched his ninth career double-double with 15 rebounds.

Nebraska-Omaha shot a little better from 3-point land, going 8-of-24. But three of those treys were banked in from the backboard, which is something the Mavericks couldn’t rely on late in the matchup.

And even though Iowa shot just 21 percent in its 3-point attempts, it was still able to use the shot to its advantage, in some respects.

With the game tied at 66 and just over six minutes to play, Anthony Clemmons pulled up to the top of the key and shot his second 3 of the game. He sunk it at the critical moment, making the crowd in about a half-full Carver-Hawkeye Arena roar the loudest it had all night and giving Iowa just its third lead of the game.

“Big-time players make big-time shots in big-time moments,” Clemmons said. “I felt that was a big-time shot, a shot that we needed, I had an open look, I just let it fly.”

Other than Clemmons, Peter Jok and Zach McCabe each had a 3-pointer, with Jok’s coming right off the bench in the first half and McCabe’s early in the second half to put his team within 1 point of the Mavericks.

Jok — who has been touted as perhaps Iowa’s best 3-point shooter — missed his next two long shots, and he is 2-of-8 so far in his attempts in the last two games. He said this close game was a good learning experience for the team, and that when Iowa starts hitting its long shots, then the sky is limit for the Hawkeye scoring brigade.

“We weren’t ready to play in the beginning. It was a rude awakening; we needed that,” the true freshman said. “It’s hard to come off the bench and shoot right away, but it felt good when I made it. [When we can’t hit 3s], it hurts a lot, we’re scoring a lot, and with those 3s, we score even higher.”

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