Nov. 19, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
MILWAUKEE — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team passed its first road test of the season with flying colors, rolling to an 89-61 victory at Marquette in a Gavitt Games matchup Thursday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
For as good as the Hawkeyes were offensively, shooting 54.5 percent from the field and assisting on 25 of its 31 field goals, the game was won on the defensive end.
Iowa limited Marquette to 25.8 percent shooting, a 2-for-19 performance from 3-point range, and forced 12 turnovers over the first 20 minutes when the game was all but decided. The Golden Eagles shot 38.6 percent for the game, making 7-of-30 3-pointers.
“We wanted to be in the gaps and put pressure on the ball,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “Our guys executed the game plan to perfection there is no question about that.”
Iowa’s defense forced three turnovers over the game’s first 5 1/2 minutes, helping the Hawkeyes build a double-digit lead at 16-6 at the 14:29 mark. Iowa’s first five field goals came from each of its starters.
“Coach (Kirk) Speraw had the scout and he did a tremendous job of preparing us on what they were trying to do,” said senior Mike Gesell. “You have to give credit to all our guys. To a man, everyone executed the game plan defensively worked hard defensively, and that got our offense going.”
Before Marquette could blink it trailed 23-6. Iowa led 48-21 at the break and pushed its lead to as many as 35 points (84-49) with 3:39 remaining. The Hawkeyes never trailed in its first road game of the season.
“As upperclassmen, our starting five knew we had to set a tone and show the young guys what it’s like to play on the road,” said Gesell. “We did a good job defensively and playing team defense.”
Iowa shot 55 percent (36-of-66) from the field and made 12 3-pointers in the game. Forty-two of the points came in the paint, and Iowa scored 22 points off 19 Golden Eagle turnovers.
All five starters and six Hawkeyes reached double figures in the game. Junior Peter Jok returned from an ankle injury to lead the way with 20 points, making 7-of-12 field goals with four 3-pointers. Senior Jarrod Uthoff scored 15 points, and senior Adam Woodbury added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Iowa’s starting backcourt of seniors Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons were masterful, combining for 22 points, 11 assists, seven steals, and five rebounds. Gesell finished with 11 points and four assists; Clemmons had 11 points and seven assists.
Sophomore Dom Uhl added 10 points on a 4-for-4 night from the field. Ten of the 13 Hawkeyes that played scored.
“Our greatest strength as a team is we share and move the ball,” said McCaffery. “We had six guys score in double figures and nobody cares who the leading scorer is. That’s a good feeling as a coach.”
Iowa (3-0) is off until Thanksgiving Day when it faces Dayton in the opening game of the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.