Gesell and Marble lead Iowa to win over Michigan

BY BEN ROSS | FEBRUARY 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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Devyn Marble stood near the top of the key. He was waiting for something.

As he had on two previous possessions, Mike Gesell dished the basketball to an open Marble from beyond 21 feet. As he had on two previous possessions, Marble buried his shots, and nearly blew the top off Carver-Hawkeye.

Iowa charged to an early 9-4 lead over Michigan, all coming in the form of long scores from Marble. The senior ended the day with 26 points, going 6-of-10 from 3-point range in an 85-67 rout over the No. 10 team in the country on Feb. 8. After the game, Michigan coach John Beilein marveled at the performance.

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“That was a Player of the Year candidate performance today,” he said about Marble. “He is a really good senior, and Iowa is blessed to have a player like him. He is hungry, because Iowa was so close last year. It is players like him that are going to make it happen.”

Though Marble will get all the lip service from basketball analysts and coaches, he said he knows why he was able to have one of his best games of an already illustrious career: Mike Gesell got him the ball when he needed it.

“I didn’t overshadow him,” Marble said about Gesell.  “If anybody paying attention to the game would realize, ‘who’s getting [me] the ball, how [am I] getting open.’ It was Mike. He was pushing it into transition causing people to collapse on him. He was delivering the ball to me where I needed it to be, and I was able to catch and shoot. I don’t think I overshadowed him. He played an excellent game. This is his best game, facilitating and getting us into our offense.”

Gesell assisted on 12 of Marble’s 26 points, while getting 10 points and netting 8 assists. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said the sophomore could have contributed even further.

“We talk about Dev, but Mike was absolutely spectacular,” McCaffery said after the game. “He had five or six steals, he could have had a lot more.  He got his hands on the ball, he was really, really competitive. When you have guard play like that, it changes everything.”

Iowa needed to make a statement in the Big Ten, and its commanding win over what many believe to be the best team in the conference did just that. It seems as though every team can beat any other on any given day, but when Gesell can get Marble the ball on a 26-point day, Iowa doesn’t lose too many times.

It was one of Iowa’s most complete games all year, but Gesell said his team might have room to grow. The sophomore was quick to give credit to Marble, and he speculated where Iowa could go from here.

“When Dev gets hot, it makes my job as a point guard very easy,” Gesell said. “I was just finding him the ball, and he was knocking it down. I was just trying to say aggressive and push the ball in transition. We were able to do that tonight, and that’s why I think the offense was flowing so well. The sky’s the limit for this team.

“I don’t think I even know what our best basketball is.”

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