Men's hoops hopes to return to win column against Arkansas-Pine Bluff


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With the loss to Iowa State buried in its collective memory bank and finals week finally completed, the Iowa men’s basketball team will square off against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 22 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The game should serve as a tune-up for the Hawkeyes in every sense of the word. Arkansas Pine-Bluff, on a national scale, is ranked 346th in points per game, 349th in rebounds per game, 296th in assists per game, and 330th in field-goal percentage.

It appears the only way Iowa could lose to the Lions is if the loss in Ames did something to throw off the psyche of the players. But they recognized the benefits of that type of game and are subsequently viewing it in a different light than they did immediately after.

“We’re a very positive team. We look at it as a learning experience,” sophomore guard Mike Gesell said. “You can’t dwell on a loss like that. Iowa State’s a very good ball club. We have a lot of games left to play, starting on Sunday, and then we get going with the Big Ten.”

Senior guard Devyn Marble echoed Gesell and even went as far to say the loss was a good thing for Fran McCaffery’s group.

“We’ve all been in those situations, and we’re going to be in them more times than not,” he said. “All you do is get back in the gym, work on whatever you need to work on, and get ready for that next opportunity so that when you’re name is called, you can go make a play.

“Even though we lost to Iowa State, I was proud of how we played and how we fought. The circumstances, the hectic environment, I wouldn’t say it bothered us too much. It was good that it [the loss] happened earlier in the year, because pretty much every night out is going to be of that nature in the Big Ten.”

The Hawkeyes could get a nice boost for the game, because junior guard Josh Oglesby hopes to return from a broken bone in his foot that’s sidelined him since before the regular-season opener.
Oglesby, a 6-6 guard from Cedar Rapids, had surgery on his foot a few days after the injury occurred in practice. After, he was unable to practice or play for five weeks.

Oglesby struggled in his sophomore year, shooting just 26.9 percent from behind the arc. But the junior worked on his jumper for much of the off-season. His skill as a shooter, plus his ability to lock down opposing players on the perimeter, has teammates excited about his possible return.

“His first possession back, we were going up and down, he came off a down screen, took one dribble, and bounce-passed it to Gabe [Olaseni] for a dunk,” junior forward Aaron White said. “He came right in, and it seemed like there was no rust.

“He was making his jumper. I love playing with him. He moves the ball well; he’s a great passer, shoots it when he’s open. He’s a good defender, and I’m looking forward to getting back on the floor with him.”

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