Nov. 27, 2012
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- It was a track meet on Tuesday at Virginia Tech, and the Hawkeyes couldn't keep pace.
The University of Iowa men's basketball team fell to the Hokies, 95-79, in a high-scoring Big Ten/ACC Challenge game inside Cassell Coliseum. Virginia Tech, who shot 52.5 percent (32-of-61) from the floor, had five players score in double figures with guard Erick Green hitting his season average, scoring 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
"A lot of the reason why they shot such a high percentage was transition," said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. "We felt we needed to utilize intelligent shot selection without turning the ball over. We shot way too many 3s.
"We were driving the ball to the basket and getting to the free throw line, and we had ample opportunities to break that defense down, but we settled for 3s. Whenever we missed a 3, they would score."
After going on a 10-1 run late in the first half to turn a 37-36 deficit into a 46-38 halftime lead, Green scored the first nine points of the second half to extend the Virginia Tech lead to 55-38 with 16:53 left.
The Hawkeyes, however, wouldn't go away quietly.
Using a 2-3 zone, the Hawkeyes slowed the Hokies offensively, and it translated to a 14-0 spurt over a 3:30 stretch to trim the deficit to five (55-52). Junior Melsahn Basabe opened the run with a pair of free throws before sophomore Aaron White had back-to-back fast break field goals to make the score 55-44.
Junior Roy Devyn Marble then scored six of the next eight points to pull the Hawkeyes to within three (55-52) with 13 minutes remaining.
With the score 57-54, Virginia Tech pulled away, using a 12-4 spurt to regain a double-digit lead at 69-58 with 9:02 left. The Hokies pushed their lead to 21 points with 1:55 to play before running out 16-point winners.
The Hawkeyes shot 48.4 percent (31-of-64) from the floor, but made just 4-of-22 3-point attempts. Iowa went 13-of-18 from the charity stripe; Virginia Tech went 27-of-30. The Hokies also out rebounded the Hawkeyes, 36-30, and had a 17-8 advantage in fast break points.
White posted his second double-double of the season and the sixth of his career, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds. The sophomore went 8-of-15 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Marble finished with 19 points on 9-of-16 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists.
"He just keeps getting better," said McCaffery of White. "He works, is developing his pull-up game and his ability to finish when he's blowing by guys. He didn't play the three last year, and he's playing against an All-ACC forward and blowing by him, making plays. He's just scratching the surface of how good he can be."
After going back-and-forth over the first seven minutes, the Hokies built a 19-14 advantage at the 11:21 mark courtesy of a Will Johnston 3-pointer. Iowa sophomore Josh Oglesby answered with a triple to cut the deficit to two before the Hawkeyes evened the tally at 22 behind a White free throw with 8:57 to go in the half.
Iowa grabbed a 37-36 lead on a lay-up by Marble, but that was the Hawkeyes' final field goal of the first half. Virginia Tech followed with a 10-1 run to take a 46-38 lead into the break.
Iowa and Virginia Tech both shot 50 percent in the opening 20 minutes, making 15-of-30 attempts from the floor.
The Hawkeyes (5-2) return home Saturday, playing host to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at noon (CT) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"We have to get back and go back to work because it's a long season," said McCaffery. "It's easy to look at a loss and get down, assess blame and point fingers, but we're not going to get any better if we do that. We have to stay positive and get this young team to understand what it takes. It will start on Saturday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi."