Feb. 8, 2014
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It was a game where everything came together for the No. 17/13 University of Iowa men’s basketball team and the result was an 85-67 dismantling of No. 10/16 Michigan Saturday on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We ran into a buzz saw today,” said Michigan head coach John Beilein. “This is the way they were playing so much for the first semester. They punched us early, and it was hard to respond.”
Senior Roy Devyn Marble put the Hawkeyes on his back in the first half, scoring his team’s first nine points and 22 of his game-high 26 points to give 43-29 at the break. Iowa kept its foot on the accelerator to hand the Wolverines an 18-point loss — their largest defeat and second Big Ten loss of the season.
“I wanted to come out and be aggressive,” said Marble. “I was upset with the performance individually and as a team against Ohio State and the lack of energy was unacceptable. I told the guys we were going to come out and play hard. If we win, we win, if we lose, we lose, but you won’t be able to doubt our toughness and energy on both ends of the court.”
The victory improved Iowa’s record to 6-0 following a loss this season, and it was the team’s second win over an Associated Press Top-10 team since the 1990-91 season. The Hawkeyes won at third-ranked Ohio State on Jan. 12.
Marble was unconscious in the first half, making 6-of-9 3-pointers and eight total field goals. He finished 8-of-17 from the floor and 6-of-10 from 3-point range for the game. Junior Aaron White scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and sophomore Mike Gesell added 10 points to go along with a career-high eight assists.
“From a facilitating standpoint, this was (Mike’s) best game,” said Marble. “I kind of felt bad when he came up two short of his 10 (assists).”
“To a man, I think everybody I put in the game played well,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery.
Iowa shot 47.5 percent (29-of-61) from the floor and tied a season-high with a 58.8 3-point field goal percentage (10-of-17). Eight of the 3-pointers came in the opening 20 minutes, when the team connected on 8-of-11 attempts.
The Hawkeyes assisted on 22-of-their-29 field goals, committed just seven turnovers and had seven blocks and nine steals. Iowa also won the rebounding battle, 38-29, which included 15 offensive rebounds.
“The assist numbers on our made field goals were incredible,” said White. “All of our guards and forwards did a great job sharing the ball. If somebody had an open shot and there was a recovering defender, they moved it on to the open guy. That’s when we’re at our best.
“When we share the basketball and move it like we did today, there are not a lot of teams that can guard us.”
Michigan shot 42.3 percent (22-of-52) from the floor and 36 percent (9-of-25) from 3-point land. Caris LeVert paced the Wolverines with 22 points, while Zak Irvin finished with 19 points off the bench. Iowa limited Michigan’s leading scorer — Nik Stauskas — to 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting, seven points below his average.
“To beat Michigan, you have to play the kind of defense we played,” said McCaffery. “It was not only getting stops, but it was getting stops and then running, getting offensive opportunities in transition and not giving them seconds.”
After making three 3-pointers as a team in Tuesday’s home loss to Ohio State, Marble connected on 3-of-4 attempts to start the game, helping the Hawkeyes build an 11-4 lead over the first five minutes.
“What really got me going was defensively how we were playing and they weren’t scoring, and that fuels me,” said Marble. “They have me certain opportunities and I took advantage of them. Guys like Mike were finding me, and he told me whenever I catch it to keep shooting, I’m going to get you the ball. I did what I had to do.”
Iowa continued its assault from 3-point range, as a Gesell 3-ball made the score 16-8, Marble hit his fourth triple, pushing the lead to 21-10 and McCabe joined the party, stretching the Hawkeye advantage to 27-11 with 9:17 to go in the half. Iowa made 6-of-7 3-pointers over the first 11 minutes.
After pushing the lead to 16 points (29-13), the Wolverines used a 12-4 run to cut the deficit to single digits and force an Iowa timeout. Irvin made a pair of 3-pointers in a two-minute stretch, but Marble ended an 8-0 Michigan run with his fifth 3-pointer to give Iowa a 36-25 lead.
Michigan used back-to-back layups by Stauskas and Irvin to cut the lead to 36-29 with 2:39 left in the half, but Iowa scored the final seven points, including a 3-pointer by Marble with the half coming to an end that gave the Hawkeyes a 43-29 lead at the break.
Iowa pushed its lead to 19 points behind five Gesell points 2 1/2 minutes into the second half. Michigan closed the gap to 56-41 with 13:04 remaining on three Stauskas free throws, but sophomore Jarrod Uthoff followed with a layup and 3-pointer in a 54-second stretch to give Iowa a 61-41 lead.
The Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 71-45 when Marble assisted Adam Woodbury on a fast-break dunk and the margin went to a game-high 27 points (72-45) when Woodbury made 1-of-2 free throws with 7:02 remaining.
Iowa (18-6, 7-4) now has a week off before returning to action Feb. 16 at Penn State.