The Ottumwa Courier

November 19, 2013

Abilene Christian dominated by Iowa 103-41

By SCOTT JACKSON Courier sports writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — IOWA CITY — After last weekend, Iowa head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery isn’t taking anybody lightly. As he indicated after a runaway win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Thursday, anybody can beat anybody in college basketball on any given night.

Iowa almost fell victim to that last Sunday before a second half rally saved the Hawkeyes from being upset at home by Nebraska-Omaha, who then nearly knocked off UNLV on Friday. In between, Iowa’s most recent Sunday opponent, Abilene Christian, used 10 first-half 3-pointers to score a lead at Maryland.

“Every day there are teams beating other teams that you didn’t think were supposed to beat those teams, and you don’t want to find yourself in that situation with five minutes to go because you weren’t ready to go at the start of the game,” McCaffery said.

Devyn Marble made sure Iowa didn’t have to go on upset alert Sunday. Scoring 22 of his season-high 27 points in the first half as Iowa thumped Abilene Christian in a 103-41 win on Sunday. Marble scored 15 of the Hawkeyes’ first 17 points in an impressive offensive performance.

“I felt like it’s supposed to happen,” Marble said. “I work on my shot every day. I shoot well in practice. It was only a matter of time. I just needed to get into a rhythm.”

The win also locked up Iowa’s first national ranking in eight seasons. The Hawkeyes were rated 25th in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, earning the program’s first ranking since the 2005-06 season, Iowa’s last time appearing in the NCAA Tournament.

Iowa showed on Sunday that they certainly belong in the mix with the other top-tier teams Abilene Christian is testing itself against this year in non-conference play.

“It’s not a big team. They’re in a transitional phase. They’re playing a murderous schedule,” McCaffery said of Abilene Christian. “Very difficult situation for a team to be going through. They’re in Pittsburgh, New York, they’re in College Park, Maryland then they’re in Iowa City.”

“The bottom line is you’ve just got to make sure you take care of business and move the ball, and that’s what was most impressive to me.”

Iowa did an impressive job of handling the basketball, coming up with 25 assists while only committing five turnovers. Freshman Peter Jok added 15 points for Iowa (4-0) who tied the fourth-largest margin of victory in program history with the 62-point win.

LaDarrien Williams scored 12 points to lead Abilene Christian (0-4), who used the 10 makes out of 25 attempts from 3-point range to hang around at Maryland on Wednesday. Iowa held the Texas school to just 3-23 shooting from beyond the arc on Sunday.

“I think if you look at scores of games like that, OK, why is Abilene Christian up six with 13 minutes to go at Maryland,” McCaffery said. “If you don’t guard them right, they’re going to make 10 threes. You’ve got to chase them off it. You’ve got to close out hard. You’ve got to rotate and play ball screens correctly, because that’s what forces helped recoveries.”

“Take away the three ball, they went with a small lineup to start the game and they’re 3-23 from three. It’s going to be hard to win.”

Marble put on a show in the opening minutes. The senior hit a jumper and swished a pair of 3-pointers for Iowa’s first eight points.

A couple minutes later, Marble hauled in a deep pass from teammate Aaron White, then went behind his back to scoot around a defender for the lay-in.

After another Marble layup, the 6-foot-6 guard attacked the basket with a nifty spin move to lose his defender at the elbow. Then Marble adjusted his shot in midair to absorb a foul on the layup, drawing a big reaction from the crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Marble, who moved from point guard to shooting guard this week, converted the three-point play for his 17th point in only 6 1/2 minutes.

“The reason we moved him back to the two-spot is to get him all over the floor with the ball,” McCaffery said. “That’s where he’s at his best.”

Marble came within four points of tying his career high despite playing only 20 minutes. He finished 9 of 13 from the floor and sank all six of his free throws.

“I’m just being more aggressive, looking for my shot more and being more assertive,” Marble said. “At the same time, I’m still trying to make the right plays. I’m still a playmaker with the ball and finding open guys.”

The Hawkeyes shot 62 percent from the floor to eclipse the 100-point mark for the second-straight game. Iowa made nine of 21 3-pointers.

Abilene Christian — new to Division I this year after playing 31 years in Division II — is off to its worst start since 1990. Abilene Christian committed 19 turnovers and had only six assists on 14 field goals. The Wildcats shot just 26 percent for the entire game.

“It’s a hard one because I didn’t really think about that until we were up over 30 at the 16 minute mark, so we had 16 minutes to go and I’m going to get some of my guys out, I’m going to put the next group in,” McCaffery said. “It’s kind of like let’s just keep playing hard man-to-man defense, keep running the fast break, keep moving the ball. Don’t stop playing that way. We’re not going to sit here and dribble out 16 minutes.”

Iowa, now rated in one poll and just outside the ranking in the Associated Press, is off until hosting Ivy League challenger Pennsylvania Friday night at 6 p.m.

To follow Scott Jackson’s Twitter feed, go to @stjack423

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Sunday’s Game

IOWA 103, ABILENE CHRISTIAN 41

ABILENE CHRISTIAN (0-4) – Payne 0-1 0-0 0, Cooke 1-7 0-0 3, Williams 3-10 6-8 12, Wentz 0-6 0-0 0, Hawkins 3-10 2-2 10, Farley 0-2 0-0 0, Grant 1-2 0-0 2, Edmonson 1-8 0-0 2, Blakeley 0-0 0-0 0, Milosavljevic 1-1 0-0 2, Pegues 3-6 2-2 8, Lancaster 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 14-54 10-12 41.

IOWA (4-0) – Basabe 2-4 0-0 4, White 4-5 1-1 9, Woodbury 3-4 3-3 9, Marble 9-13 6-6 27, Gesell 1-6 0-0 3, Olaseni 4-5 2-4 10, Jok 6-8 0-1 15, Clemmons 2-3 3-3 7, Denning 1-4 0-0 2, McCabe 4-5 0-0 10, Uthoff 2-4 2-2 6, Ukah 0-0 0-0 0, Meyer 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 38-61 18-22 103.

Halftime--Iowa 46-22. 3-Point Goals--Abilene Christian 3-23 (Hawkins 2-8, Cooke 1-5, Farley 0-1, Edmonson 0-2, Williams 0-3, Wentz 0-4), Iowa 9-21 (Jok 3-5, Marble 3-6, McCabe 2-3, Gesell 1-4, Denning 0-3). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds--Abilene Christian 30 (Cooke, Pegues, Williams 5), Iowa 36 (White 7). Assists--Abilene Christian 6 (Williams 2), Iowa 25 (Clemmons, Gesell, Jok, McCabe, Uthoff, White 3). Total Fouls--Abilene Christian 21, Iowa 10. A--14,733.

Thursday’s Game

IOWA 109, MD.-EASTERN SHORE 63

MD.-EASTERN SHORE (1-2) – Johnson 2-4 0-2 4, Ezeiru 3-6 2-2 8, Baxter 2-10 2-2 6, Smith III 6-24 6-8 19, Snyder 3-7 0-0 7, Pitt 1-3 0-3 2, Bell 2-7 1-1 5, Trim 0-0 0-0 0, Walker 2-7 0-0 6, Randall 3-6 0-0 6, Choice 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-75 11-18 63.

IOWA (3-0) – Basabe 2-3 8-12 12, White 9-10 4-5 22, Woodbury 1-3 2-2 4, Marble 3-8 3-4 10, Gesell 3-5 0-0 8, Olaseni 5-10 0-2 10, Jok 1-5 8-8 10, Clemmons 1-1 0-0 2, Denning 1-2 0-0 3, McCabe 4-7 1-2 11, Uthoff 3-7 5-6 11, Ukah 0-1 1-2 1, Stokes 1-3 0-0 2, Meyer 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 35-68 32-43 109.

Halftime--Iowa 56-23. 3-Point Goals--Md.-Eastern Shore 4-25 (Walker 2-5, Snyder 1-4, Smith III 1-8, Choice 0-1, Pitt 0-1, Bell 0-3, Baxter 0-3), Iowa 7-17 (Gesell 2-3, McCabe 2-3, Meyer 1-2, Denning 1-2, Marble 1-4, Jok 0-1, Uthoff 0-1, White 0-1). Fouled Out--Baxter, Johnson. Rebounds--Md.-Eastern Shore 37 (Ezeiru 9), Iowa 57 (Uthoff 11). Assists--Md.-Eastern Shore 9 (Bell 3), Iowa 24 (Gesell 7). Total Fouls--Md.-Eastern Shore 27, Iowa 18. A--13,374.