Iowa seniors 'dying hard'

BY JACOB SHEYKO | MARCH 02, 2015 5:00 AM

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As Iowa senior Josh Oglesby warmed up before Iowa’s 68-60 win over Illinois, the thought hit him.

This will be my second-to-last game at Carver.

The day when Iowa seniors Aaron White, Gabe Olaseni, Josh Oglesby, and Kyle Denning are done suiting up in front of the Hawkeye faithful is nearing. Following a win on Feb. 28 over Penn State, Iowa will play at Indiana on March 3, then return home for Senior Day against Northwestern on March 7.

In the face of the dwindling days, Iowa’s seniors have saved some of their best play for the end.

“I only have two more games,” Oglesby said about his thoughts before the Illinois game. “[Now that the game is done], I only have one more game in Carver. It’s scary but exciting at the same time.”

Illinois head coach John Groce said it was an example of a senior “dying hard.” He was talking about White’s performance against the Fighting Illini — White scored 29 points to go with his 9 rebounds.
White hasn’t been the lone senior “dying hard.”

Olaseni has averaged 10.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game during Iowa’s latest four-game winning streak. Oglesby has found his stroke from behind the arc as well, a stroke that eluded him for the majority of this season. He has made 6 of his last 10 3-point attempts.

Olaseni’s presence inside, and Oglesby’s shooting — among other factors — has helped open up an Iowa offense that has churned out 76 points per game in Iowa’s last four wins, helping the Hawkeyes to their first conference winning record since the 2006-07 season.

“It’s kind of like, we’re just going to go onto the next,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “… You don’t ever want to stop at this time. You can do that when the season’s over.”

In light of Olaseni and Oglesby’s play recently, the most impressive out of the bunch is still White.
The Iowa forward’s last three games have produced a dream stat line: White has averaged 22.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, shooting 58.8 percent from the field and missing just three free-throw attempts in his 26 trips to the charity stripe.

White has even hit from the beyond the 3-point line. The career 26.5 percent shooter has hit five of his last seven.

“I swear I’m not lying when I told you guys in the past that I can shoot,” White joked. “It’s kind of frustrating that at the end of my career is when they’re going in. I’m sure fans are like, ‘Where is this coming from?’ ”

That senior experience was on display at Penn State.

With 30 seconds left in the game, Mike Gesell made the second of his two free throws, giving Iowa a 1-point lead.

After the make, White appeared to turn around and run back on defense. But just as Penn State’s D.J. Newbill threw the ball in, White turned around, sprinted to the corner, and stole the ball.

The play didn’t seal the win for Iowa. White’s subsequent six free throws did, though. But the play helped put Iowa in the driver seat for the remainder of the game.

It was a play that wasn’t scouted nor planned. It came down to a senior making a smart play, which Iowa has had its fair share of as of late.

“Heads-up play,” McCaffery said. “That was all him. I wish I could take some credit. That’s all him.”

Follow @JacobSheyko on Twitter for updates, news, and analysis about the Iowa basketball team

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