Dec. 22, 2011
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By ADAM MEIER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Boise State provided the University of Iowa men’s basketball team with a Big Ten-like test, and the Hawkeyes were up to the challenge Thursday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa won its third straight game, downing the Broncos, 81-72. The victory improved the Hawkeyes’ record to 8-5 overall, while Boise State dropped to 9-4.
“We needed a test tonight,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “We needed somebody to come in here, you hit them, they hit back. That’s what our league (Big Ten) is night-in-and-night-out. We had to gut one out.”
A number of stellar individual performances by Hawkeyes proved too much for Boise State, who was playing without their leading scorer Anthony Drmic (14.0 ppg).
No Iowa player was more impressive than sophomore Devyn Marble. Marble stuffed the stat sheet, tallying 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals.
“The thing about him (Devyn) is who’s going to block him?” McCaffery said. “He’s 6-foot-6 and long. If he drives you back and rises up, he’s going to get that shot off. You can see in his face he’s very comfortable shooting. That’s how you want your guys playing.”
Freshman Aaron White played comfortably as well, matching Marble’s offensive output by scoring 18 points of his own. White came off the bench early in the first half and immediately energized the Hawkeyes. The 6-foot-8 freshman scored four consecutive Iowa field goals during a four minute stretch, including a fast-break dunk and an offensive rebound put-back. White finished the game 6-of-8 from the field to go along with six rebounds in 27 minutes.
“One of the problems he had up until now was not his ability, it was fatigue, it was stamina,” said McCaffery. “As he’s gotten more minutes and had more success, he’s understanding how to manage his wind. Early on he was sort of just dying on us. He’d play himself until he couldn’t make another move. He’s not doing that now.”
Melsahn Basabe continued his steady improvement back into his freshman year form. Basabe controlled the paint throughout the game by grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking four shots, while scoring 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
Senior Matt Gatens provided 16 points in 38 minutes of play, and freshmen Josh Oglesby added nine points, including a clutch 3-pointer set up after a timeout that gave the Hawkeyes a 62-57 lead with 8:38 left in the game. Shortly after, a Basabe blocked shot led to a run-out by Marble, who found Gatens for a streaking layup to increase Iowa’s lead to 65-57 with 5:05 remaining.
The Hawkeyes never let up and held off the Broncos with clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch. Iowa shot 25-of-31 (80.6 percent) from the free-throw line and 26-of-54 (48.1 percent) from the field for the game, including 15-of-26 (57.7 percent) in the second half.
“I think what we did is we grew up a little bit,” said McCaffery. “We’re obviously playing better at both ends of the floor. We have more people playing better.”
The Hawkeyes open Big Ten play at home Dec. 28 against Purdue beginning at 8:36 p.m. (CT).