March 5, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Luckily for the University of Iowa men’s basketball team, sophomore Josh Oglesby has a shooter’s mentality and keeps firing.
“You have to keep believing, keep shooting,” said Oglesby, who started the game 1-of-6. “Early on my shot wasn’t falling and it was frustrating, but I made those two, and it felt good.”
Oglesby connected on consecutive 3-pointers with the game in the balance to help propel the Hawkeyes to a 63-55 victory over Illinois on Tuesday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The win was Iowa’s 19th of the season — the most victories for the program since the 2005-06 season.
“That was a pivotal point in the game,” said junior Roy Devyn Marble, who led all scorers with 21 points. “We were struggling to score, and they were hitting their 3s to get back into the game. I was really proud of him and happy for him. We know he is going to knock down shots, he just has to go about it his way.”
With Iowa clinging to a 48-46 advantage with 4:45 left, Oglesby’s drained his first 3-pointer to push the lead to 51-46. After an empty Illinois possession, Oglesby found the bottom of the net a second time stretching the lead to 54-46.
“It’s just a matter of time,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “He’s done it this year in games, he just hasn’t done it as much as he would like or as we thought. I felt like we’ll keep going to him, he’s going to make them, and he did.”
After Oglesby’s third “heat check” attempt was off the mark, Iowa extended its run to 9-0 when Marble split the Illinois defense for a layup and “and one” with 1:39 left. When the smoke cleared, the Hawkeyes led 57-46 with 1:39 remaining.
“I knew once I got to the hole I was going to be able to get the foul,” said Marble. “The “and-one” was a good play. I knew we were going to get something positive out of that.”
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Joseph Bertrand and D.J. Richardson cut the lead to 58-52 with 1:14 remaining, but Iowa made 5-of-6 free throws, including four by Marble, down the stretch to run out 63-55 winners. Marble finished the game two points shy of 1,000 for his career.
Marble made 5-of-12 field goals and all 10 attempts from the free throws stripe en route to his 21 points. The guard also had a team-best six rebounds and four assists. Oglesby was the only other Hawkeye in double figures with 10 points. All nine Iowa players that played scored.
Iowa finished the game shooting 38.9 percent (21-of-54), but it was just 7-of-28 (28 percent) in the second half. The Hawkeyes were 5-of-18 from 3-point range and 16-of-20 from the free throw line — 15-of-18 over the final 20 minutes.
Iowa’s defense was strong from start to finish, limiting the Fighting Illini to 28.6 percent (18-of-63) shooting and 31 percent (9-of-29) from long range. Paul paced Illinois with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Richardson added 13.
“The defense was spectacular early, but it was a little disturbing that we hold them to 26 percent shooting, and we’re up three (at the half),” said McCaffery. “Our defense both halves was what it needed to be for us to win.”
The Hawkeyes won the battle on the glass, 43-39, and had a season-high 12 blocks — six by sophomore Gabriel Olaseni. The 12 blocks tie a school and Carver-Hawkeye Arena record.
“It was a good night defensively for me,” said Olaseni. “I was just trying to stay active. I am not sure how many shots I blocked… (told 6 by reporters)… wow, that’s pretty good. The coaching staff did a good job of emphasizing aggressive defense for me in this game.”
After leading 31-28 at the half, the Hawkeyes stretched its lead to 42-31 over the first eight minutes of the second half behind eight points by Marble. Illinois followed with an 8-0 spurt behind 3-pointers by Richardson and Brandon Paul to make it a 42-39 lead game with 7:35 left.
Iowa got off to a quick start in the game, jumping out to a 9-3 lead over the first four minutes to force an early Illinois timeout. The Hawkeyes then pushed their lead to 15-4 at the 8:40 mark behind consecutive field goals — a layup and dunk — by Marble.
Illinois, which missed 15 straight field goals after making its first, ended a drought of more than 11 minutes with a Nnann Egwu jumper to make the score 15-6, and the Fighting Illini started clawing its way back into the contest. A Tyler Griffey 3-pointer made the score 22-15 at the 6:10 mark, and Illinois took its only lead at 28-27 on a second Griffey 3-pointer with 1:12 left in the half.
Iowa took a 31-28 lead into the locker room following a Melsahn Basabe jumper and a Zach McCabe tip-in at the buzzer. The Hawkeyes shot 48.3 percent (14-of-29) over the opening 20 minutes, while Illinois was 9-of-34 (26.5 percent). Both teams struggled from long range, making a combined 5-of-25 attempts (Iowa, 2-of-10; Illinois, 3-of-15).
Iowa (19-11, 8-9) closes out the regular season Saturday, hosting Nebraska at 1:21 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes will hold its Senior Day festivities, where they will recognize Eric May and Christopher Rickert.