Nov. 17, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — It was doom and gloom for the University of Iowa men’s basketball team Saturday night in the first half against Gardner-Webb — 18 total points, 20 percent shooting… a 23-point deficit.
The second half was a different story.
The Hawkeyes rallied from a 38-18 halftime deficit to down the Runnin’ Bulldogs, 65-56, in a Cancun Challenge preliminary game on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The win improves Iowa’s record to 4-0 this season.
“I felt like we were tight,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery of the team’s first half performance. “We were doubting ourselves a little bit. We weren’t making plays, running our break, executing on offense, and we were breaking down on defense.
“All the stuff we knew we had to do, we didn’t do. So we just challenged them to a man.”
After trailing by 20 at the half, the Hawkeyes came out energized to start the second period, using a quick 12-0 spurt over the first four minutes to cut the deficit to 10. Junior Roy Devyn Marble and freshman Adam Woodbury opened the half with consecutive jumpers before sophomore Aaron White scored six straight to make the score 38-28. Woodbury’s followed with a field goal at the 15:47 mark to get it to single digits (38-30).
Down 40-30 with 14:32 remaining, junior Zach McCabe drained a 3-pointer from the corner — Iowa’s first triple of the game — to make the score 40-33. McCabe followed with a second long ball to cut the deficit to 42-36. The two makes took the lid off the Hawkeye basket, as the shots began to fall.
Sophomore Josh Oglesby joined the 3-point party with his first triple at the 11:58 mark to make the score 42-39 and Woodbury’s tip-in trimmed the Runnin’ Bulldog lead to one (42-41) with 11:16 to play. Sophomore Aaron White then tied the game at 42 with a free throw with 9:59 to play, bringing Iowa all the way back.
“We tried to play with a lot of energy (in the second half),” said Woodbury. “They came out hot the first half. We knew to step our game up, we needed to push the ball and keep the pressure on them. We did that, caused some turnovers, and that ended up turning the game around.”
Oglesby then gave Iowa its first lead (47-46) with his second triple at the 8:23 mark and he followed with a third 3-pointer to give the Hawkeyes a 50-48 lead with 7:28 remaining.
“You just knew Oglesby and McCabe are going to hit,” said McCaffery. “They’re going to miss some, but they’re good shooters and good shooters are going to make shots.”
With the score tied at 50, Marble netted nine of Iowa’s next 10 points to help the Hawkeyes build a 60-52 advantage. The junior opened the spurt with consecutive steals and lay-ups to make the score 54-50 and he capped off the 10-2 spurt with a 3-pointer with 2:18 remaining, putting Iowa up eight (60-52).
The Hawkeyes then made 5-of-8 free throws down the stretch to pull out the nine point victory.
Four Iowa players finished in double digits with Oglesby and White leading the way with 13 points apiece. Oglesby made 3-of-6 3-point attempts, while was 3-of-7 from the field and 7-of-13 from the free throw line. He also had 10 rebounds to record his first double-double of the season. Woodbury finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Marble had 11, all of which came in the second half.
The Hawkeyes shot 35.8 percent (19-of-53) from the floor, 28.6 percent (6-of-21) from long range and 65.6 percent (21-of-32) from the free throw stripe. Iowa out rebounded the Runnin’ Bulldogs, 40-35, and forced 16 turnovers. The Hawkeyes limited Gardner-Webb to 32.3 percent (20-of-62) shooting and just 18 second half points.
Gardner-Webb got off to a strong start, jumping out to an 8-2 lead over the first four minutes and an 11-6 advantage at the 13:54 mark. The Runnin’ Bulldogs doubled their lead with 11:24 remaining in the half, courtesy of Onzie Branch’s steal and fast break dunk, making the score 16-8.
A layup by junior Melsahn Basabe trimmed the deficit to six (18-12) with 8:16 to play, and the Hawkeyes trailed 22-14 at the 6:44 mark following White’s fast break dunk, but that was Iowa’s last field goal of the half.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs capitalized, using a 16-1 run to push their lead to 38-15. Iowa trimmed its deficit to three following three Oglesby free throws, making the score 38-18.
The Hawkeyes made 5-of-25 field goal attempts over the opening 20 minutes and were out rebounded, 24-18. Eleven first half turnovers led to 15 Gardner-Webb points and the Runnin’ Bulldogs had a 22-8 edge in points in the paint.
Iowa returns to action Nov. 20, facing Western Kentucky in Cancun, Mexico, beginning at 8:30 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
“Western Kentucky is one of the winningest programs in college basketball history,” said McCaffery. “They were in the tournament last year, have really good players and they’re athletic. We’ll be ready for them. We’ll have to be.”