Dec. 3, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Five players reached double figures to lift the No. 23/24 University of Iowa men's basketball team to a 98-93 victory over Notre Dame on Tuesday night in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup in front of a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd.
The victory is Iowa's first Challenge triumph since 2005 -- a 45-42 win over North Carolina State.
After taking a 52-43 lead into the half, Iowa saw its lead evaporate over the first four minutes of the second half. Notre Dame got back-to-back layups from Eric Atkins and Garrick Sherman to cut the lead to 52-47. Following a Mike Gesell 3-pointer that made the score 55-47, the Irish reeled off 10-straight to take a 57-55 lead -- the first lead since the 15:22 mark of the first half.
Senior Roy Devyn Marble then took over, scoring 13-straight Hawkeye points to turn a two-point deficit into a 68-62 lead. He scored on 5-of-6 Iowa possessions during the stretch.
"Dev's run was the difference in the game," said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. "We had worked hard to get a lead. You knew they were going to make a run; you just didn't want it to be that quickly. Dev put us on his back for that stretch, and what he did was settle everybody else down on our team."
The Fighting Irish tied the game at 71 on a 3-pointer by Demetrius Jackson with 8:17 to play before junior Aaron White and sophomore Jarrod Uthoff followed with a dunk and 3-pointer to push the Hawkeye lead to 76-71 with 7:34 remaining. Notre Dame cut the deficit to one (78-77) with under five minutes left, but senior Zach McCabe's old-fashioned three-point play pushed the margin to 81-77.
"Notre Dame put that push on us in the second half and took the lead and between the crowd and the way Dev was scoring the basketball, he put us on his back," said White. "We were able to make some plays down the stretch and make our free throws."
Every time Notre Dame countered, Iowa had an answer. A pair of Gesell free throws answered an Eric Atkins 3-pointer with 2:28 left, making the score 87-82 and White followed with a three-point play to stretch the advantage to seven with 1:50 remaining.
The Irish cut the lead to 91-88 with 38 seconds to play, but Uthoff followed with a pair of free throws and a dunk following a Notre Dame miss to seal the victory.
"I said from day one, if we're going to win this game, we're going to have to beat them," said McCaffery. "They're not going to turn the ball over or make a ton of mistakes. They're going to share the ball, make open shots and play hard. We had to score 98 to get them."
White paced the Hawkeyes, netting 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and a career-high seven assists. He became the 41st player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark with his two free throws with one second remaining.
"I was kind of nervous on that free throw," said White. "Someone had told me I needed that free throw. The game was in hand, but I was nervous. To have it nine games into my junior season is a blessing. I have been fortunate to play with good guards who got me the basketball."
Marble finished with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting and a 2-of-5 effort from long range. Thirteen of his points came in a four-minute stretch in the second half. Uthoff had 17 points on 4-of-6 shooting and an 8-of-10 performance from the free throw line. McCabe and Gesell added 10 points apiece.
The Hawkeyes shot 56.9 percent from the floor, connecting on 33-of-58 attempts, and made 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from 3-point range and 25-of-29 (86.2 percent) from the charity stripe. Iowa had a 36-26 advantage on the glass and had 20 assists on its 33 makes.
Notre Dame countered by making 35-of-68 shots (51.5 percent) from the floor and 8-of-17 (47.1 percent) from long range. The Irish went 15-of-19 from the free throw line. Four Notre Dame players reached double digits with Sherman leading the way with a career-best 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting. He also had a game-high nine rebounds.
Notre Dame jumped out to a 7-2 lead over the first three-and-a-half minutes before the Hawkeyes scored 13-of-17 points to grab a 15-11 lead. Junior Gabriel Olaseni and McCabe capped a 13-4 Iowa run with back-to-back layups.
The Hawkeyes pushed their advantage to six points (31-25) on a Gesell 3-pointer at the 7:58 mark, and Iowa managed to stretch the led to double digits at the free throw stripe over the final four minutes of the first half. Iowa made 7-of-8 free throws to take a 52-43 lead into the break.
The first half was all offense. The Hawkeyes made 19-of-33 attempts, shooting 57.6 percent from the floor, including three 3-pointers. Iowa was also 11-of-12 from the charity stripe. Notre Dame shot 48.5 percent, making 16-of-33 attempts. Sherman scored surpassed his career-best in the opening half, netting 18 points.
Iowa (8-1) returns to action Saturday, facing Drake in the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic inside the Wells Fargo Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. (CT).