Feb. 29, 2012
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LINCOLN, Neb. — An 18-5 run midway through the second half propelled the University of Iowa men’s basketball team to a 62-53 victory over Nebraska on Wednesday night at the Bob Devaney Center.
The win was Iowa’s 16th of the season, improving the team’s record to 16-14 overall and 8-9 in the Big Ten. It was the team’s third Big Ten road victory, the program’s most since the 2005-06 season. Nebraska falls 12-15 overall and 4-13 in conference play.
After trailing by four at the break, the Huskers closed the gap to one (31-30) at the 14:56 mark, but then it was all Iowa. Senior Matt Gatens opened the run with a 3-pointer before NU’s Caleb Walker’s dunk made the score 34-32.
After Gatens and the Husker’s Dylan Talley traded long balls, sophomore Roy Devyn Marble made back-to-back triples to give Iowa the 42-32 lead and force a NU timeout. A Gatens dunk and a Bryce Cartwright jumper gave Iowa a 46-32 lead — Iowa’s largest lead of the game — with 10:16 to play.
“That stretch was key,” said Cartwright. “Coach got into us — me and Marble. He told Marble to trust his talent and he came out and hit his next two shots, and we went from there.”
“Everything came together for us during that stretch,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “Defensively, the break, our half-court offense… we were sharing the basketball and our recognition defensively was spectacular.”
Nebraska cut its deficit to single digits on a Mike Fox jumper at the 8:16 mark. Cartwright’s jumper pushed Iowa’s lead back to 11 at the 6:52 mark, and his triple with 5:05 to play helped the Hawkeyes equal their largest lead (54-40).
Gatens led a group of three Hawkeyes in double figures, finishing with 16 points, five rebounds and two assists. Marble finished with 11 points and three assists, while Cartwright finished with 11 points, five assists and four rebounds off the bench.
“Bryce was probably the difference in the game,” said McCaffery. “He came out and controlled the game in transition and when they started doing all that switching, you have to have someone who can read the switches and act accordingly. That’s when we got all of our open shots because he was loading guys up.”
The Hawkeyes shot 44.9 percent (22-of-49) from the floor and 8-of-20 (40 percent) from 3-point land. Seven of the eight long balls came in the second half. Nebraska shot 36.5 percent (19-of-52) from the field and 16.7 percent from long range, making 4-of-24 attempts. Iowa also won the battle on the glass, 34-30.
Iowa and Nebraska played to an 11 all tie over the first eight and a half minutes. The Hawkeyes then reeled off a 12-4 run to take a 23-15 advantage at the 5:31 mark. Freshman Aaron White score six of Iowa’s 12 points during the spurt.
The Huskers cut their deficit in half by scoring the final four points to trail 23-19 at the break. Both teams struggled from the field in the opening half. The Hawkeyes shot 37.5 percent (9-of-24), while Nebraska shot 28.6 percent (8-of-28).
The Hawkeyes close out the regular season Saturday, hosting Northwestern on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena beginning at 1:30 p.m.
“They’re a fabulous team,” said McCaffery. “We’re going to have to play extremely well. They’re going to come in fired up. They’re still on the bubble, but so are we.”