Hawkeyes defeat Maryland-Eastern Shore 109-63


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From the start, it never seemed as if Maryland-Eastern Shore had a shot in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday night. Iowa, clearly the more talented team, defeated the Hawks, 109-63.

The blowout Iowa victory moved the Black and Gold to 3-0 on the young season, but head coach Fran McCaffery noted how much stock his team takes in these nonconference games.

“[These games have] incredible value, because you have to prepare the same way,” the fourth-year head coach said. “Every game plan is different; who are we playing, what are their strengths and weaknesses. I’ve coached a lot in these games, and you look at Maryland-Eastern Shore, and you say, wow, we got them by 40. But I mean, you need all your bullets in the gun.”

Aaron White was extremely impressive in his limited time on the court Thursday. The junior had 16 points in the first half and finished with 22 on 9-of-10 shooting.

“He’s really been working on his game, and you can tell,” McCaffery said. “His jumper looks really good, he’s moving without it, he’s driving it, getting to the free-throw line, and playing with great confidence. That’s what you want to see.”

Thursday also provided sophomore guard Mike Gesell a chance to bounce back after two underwhelming performances to start the season.

In the first five minutes of the game, Gesell recorded 8 points and 2 assists. The South Sioux City, Neb., native finished with 8 points and 7 assists, by far his best game of the season.

“I think for him, he’s obviously a terrific player, but he’s been a little bit sideways,” McCaffery said. “Boy, was he really good at the start of tonight’s game. He was running our break; he was shooting the ball and making shots. Seven assists and just 1 turnover; I’m really happy for him.”

Gesell played his best game of the season Thursday, but it was from a different position from what he’s played this year. In Iowa’s first two games, Devyn Marble played majority of the minutes at point guard. But Thursday, McCaffery decided to switch the two guards, allowing his offense to run through Gesell.

“It’s just a change of pace, me being able to go out there and be more aggressive and look to score,” Marble said. “At the same time, I can still find my teammates, even though I’m being more assertive on offense.”

The move was exemplary of Iowa’s strength in numbers, as every position is deep with numerous capable players. McCaffery noted that in the future, it’s likely that Gesell will continue to play point guard. But even if that’s the case, the Hawkeyes are confident it won’t change the team’s direction much.

“Even with Anthony [Clemmons] coming in, we don’t miss a beat at all,” Gesell said. “At any position on this team — whenever someone’s having an off night — someone can come in and fill that role. That really is the beauty of this team.”

In a 46-point victory, it may be difficult for a team to draw value and progress because of the lopsided nature of the game. But Iowa will continue its nonconference slate with one thing in mind: improve every day.

“Every opportunity, you have to try to get better as a team,” White said. “Whether it’s practice, a game, whatever it is, you have to try to get better and that was our mindset coming in. I thought we learned from it; obviously, we’ll see some more on film and prepare for our game Sunday.”

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