Nov. 22, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Sophomore Jarrod Uthoff scored 19 points in 21 minutes to send the University of Iowa men's basketball team to the Bahamas with a 5-0 record after downing Penn, 86-55, Friday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Uthoff's career-best 19 points came via an efficient 6-of-7 night from the floor. He made his only 3-point attempt in the second half and was 6-of-6 from the free throw stripe. He was one of three Hawkeyes to finish in double figures and 11 players to score.
"He has a unique game and has strengths in every area," said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. "The key for him and what I try to tell him is to go do all the things that you do. The most important thing about him is he has no panic in his game. He just plays.
"If they're in zone, I'll do this. If they're in man, I'll do that. If it's a running game, I'll react accordingly. That's the beauty of who he is."
Senior Roy Devyn Marble netted 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting, and sophomore Mike Gesell scored 10 points, making 4-of-10 attempts, including a pair of 3-pointers. Junior Gabriel Olaseni and freshman Peter Jok finished with eight points apiece, and junior Aaron White and sophomore Anthony Clemmons each scored seven points. Sophomore Adam Woodbury had a game-high eight rebounds.
The Hawkeyes shot 39.4 percent from the field, making 26-of-66 field goal attempts. Iowa went 6-of-18 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range and made 28-of-40 free throw attempts.
Iowa's defense set the tone, forcing 17 first-half turnovers and 25 for the game. The turnovers led to 30 points, and the Hawkeyes limited Penn to a 36.2 percent (21-of-58) field goal percentage and a 3-of-23 night from long range.
"Defensively, I was very happy with how we played today," said Marble. "Their zone helped slow us down and miss some easy shots. It was one of those games where we had to find another way to win and forcing turnovers and getting to the free throw line was a major part of that."
After a back-and-forth opening eight minutes, the Hawkeyes used an 11-1 spurt to take a 23-14 lead with 9:13 left in the first half. Olaseni started the run with a dunk to give Iowa a 14-13 lead and four straight points from Uthoff pushed the advantage to 19-14 with 10:35 to play in the half.
Olaseni was in the middle of the action to close out the run with a block on one end before running the floor to clean up a Uthoff miss for a thunderous put-back dunk to give the Hawkeyes the nine-point advantage (23-14). A minute later, Uthoff had the highlight of the evening when he drove baseline and rose for a one-handed slam over Cameron Gunter, stretching the Iowa lead to 26-16.
"That is definitely up there on my top three-to-five (dunks) that I have seen in person," said Marble. "He is so long and you don't realize it until he is up there, how long he is. That was a nice play, and I hope he continues to make similar plays like that down the stretch."
The Quakers battled back to cut the deficit to eight points (33-25) with 4:26 to go in the half, but Iowa responded with a 15-2 spurt to close out the half to take a 48-27 lead into the locker room. Marble and Woodbury accounted for 12 points during the stretch.
Penn opened the second half by scoring the first seven points and used a 9-1 run to cut the lead to 13 with 16:49 remaining. Leading 53-40, the Hawkeyes got a three-point play from White and a Marble steal and fast-break dunk to stretch the lead to 18 before Uthoff's 3-pointer made it a 64-44 game with 12:36 left.
"This was a team that was not going to go away," said McCaffery. "We were expecting them to make a run. Two guys made two big plays and got the lead back up to 16, 17, and then it wasn't so hard."
Iowa (5-0) returns to action on Thanksgiving Day, facing Xavier at 6 p.m. (CT) in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.