Marble's second half surge pushes Iowa to 98-93 win over Notre Dame


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Iowa went to the locker room at halftime Tuesday night leading Notre Dame by 9 points. But shortly after the second half began, the Hawkeyes’ offense became stagnant. And for a while, it seemed as if Notre Dame was going to take control of the game.

After just 3 minutes and 47 seconds of play after the break, the Fighting Irish’s zone defense completely swallowed up Iowa’s high-powered offense. And the Irish eventually drew even with Iowa, outscoring the Hawkeyes 12-3 to start the half.

“Every time we played a zone in the first half, Iowa hit a 3,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said following his team’s loss. “In the second half, it gave us a little momentum and it slowed them down and made them shoot some jump shots.”

But when it looked like the game was slipping away from the Black and Gold, senior guard Devyn Marble took over, scoring 13-straight points that rejuvenated his team and a raucous crowd on hand in Carver-Hawkeye.

“Devyn’s run was the difference in the game,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “We had worked really hard to get a lead. This is a very experienced and well-coached team. You knew they were going to make a run, but you just didn’t want it to be that quickly.

“Devyn put us on his back for that stretch. And I think what he did was settle everybody else down on our team.”

Marble recognized his team’s shortcomings offensively in the early goings of the second half. And like an experienced player of his caliber is expected to, the Southfield, Mich., native provided stability when his team needed it most.

“I needed to [take over],” Marble said following Iowa’s win. “We were a bit sluggish offensively and defensively. They had re-established a lead and I don’t like seeing stuff happen more than once in a season. That was looking like it could be another Villanova game.

“I didn’t like that, so I had to make the change.”

Marble finished Tuesday’s tilt with 17 points, with 13 of them coming in under than four minutes in the second half.

The senior’s phenomenal stretch didn’t seem to surprise any of his teammates, even though it came at a time when scoring was at a premium.

“That was huge for us and for Devyn; he’s a guy on our team that can step up and do that for us any night,” fellow Iowa guard Mike Gesell said of Marble. “Those were some big time plays by him. He’s a leader on this team; he’s a scorer on this team. When he gets going like that, you have to find him the ball, because he’s one of the best scorers in the country, in my opinion.”

In three of Iowa’s last four games, Marble has had a stretch where it seemed as if he was carrying the Hawkeyes offensively.

McCaffery noted that there’s no doubt the senior’s maturity has improved to a level that allows him to do so, but he also added that Marble’s performance on Tuesday is something the Hawkeyes can look forward to seeing more of throughout the season.

“I think that’s what we all expected from him [Marble],” McCaffery said. “He’s done it before. He had one stretch in his career during his junior year where he struggled. But if you look at his collective body of work, he’s always been able to do that.”

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