Dec. 15, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Junior Roy Devyn Marble and freshman Mike Gesell combined for 53 points to lift the University of Iowa men's basketball team to an 80-73 victory over Northern Iowa in the opener of the Hy-Vee Big 4 Classic on Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Marble set a Wells Fargo Arena record for a collegiate game, finishing with 30 points -- his second career 30-point game -- on 6-of-14 shooting. He made 4-of-9 attempts from long range and 14-of-19 from the charity stripe.
"It's amazing because I didn't rest him much," said UI head coach Fran McCaffery of Marble's performance. "I moved him around; he played point, two and three. He looked, to me, that he was really determined to make sure we won the game."
Marble got some help in the backcourt from Gesell, who netted a career-best 23 points. The guard made 6-of-9 field goal attempts, which included four 3-pointers and 7-of-9 free throws.
"I hit my first shot, that's always a good feeling, and I just kept shooting," said Gesell. "My shot was looking good, so I had to keep being aggressive."
The Hawkeyes made nine 3-pointers in the first half -- more than the team had made in a game this season (eight) -- and 12 for the game. Iowa finished 12-of-25 (48 percent) from long range, and shot 42.9 percent (21-of-49) from long range.
"When shots are falling, it makes everything easier," said Gesell. "You have a little bit more energy on defense, and it carries over. It was nice to hit some of those shots."
"I was surprised we had some games when we didn't shoot it well," said McCaffery. "We have multiple 3-point shooters, and we saw that today. The way they defend, they really close hard on penetration and well off the basket, so you're going to get open shots... you just have to make them."
After leading 40-32 at the break, the Panthers cut the lead to five early in the second half before Marble's 3-pointer pushed the lead to 49-39 with 16:08 remaining. Northern Iowa cut the deficit to five on a Seth Tuttle lay-up at the 12:26 mark before sophomore Josh Oglesby connected on a 3-pointer to put Iowa back up eight (55-47).
The Panthers' kept battling, as Chip Rank's 3-pointer at the 9:34 mark made the score 57-52, and Tuttle's lay-up cut the deficit to 59-55 with 8:01 to play.
Junior Melsahn Basabe gave Iowa a lift when he drained a long jumper from the top of the key, and junior Aaron White followed with a 3-pointer to ignite a 9-0 Iowa run that pushed the advantage to 68-55 with 2:37 remaining.
"He stepped up, didn't hesitate, and he drilled it," said McCaffery of White's 3. "That, and Basabe's jumper, might have been two of the biggest shots in the game."
Northern Iowa trimmed the deficit to five points in the closing final minute, but Iowa converted just enough free throws to send it to its ninth victory of the season.
Three Panther players finished in double figures with Deon Mitchell leading the way with 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Tuttle had 18 and nine rebounds, while Anthony James added 15. Northern Iowa shot 45.2 percent (28-of-62) from the floor and 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Panthers had six assists on their 28 field goals.
Iowa jumped out to an 8-2 lead behind back-to-back 3-pointers by Marble and Gesell, but the Panthers followed with eight straight points to take a 10-8 advantage. Gesell then connected on his second and third triples on consecutive possessions to give Iowa a 16-12 lead with 13:37 to go in the first half.
"He got me going," Marble said of Gesell. "He was making 3s, so I wanted to make a 3. We feed off each other like that."
Despite making six of its first 10 shots and 5-of-6 3-pointers, Iowa led only 19-17 at the 12:26 mark, but Hawkeyes used a 12-3 run to push the advantage to 31-20 with 8:15 on the clock. Sophomore Gabriel Olaseni opened the spurt with a dunk and Marble ended it with consecutive 3-balls. Iowa opened the game making 7-of-9 3-pointers.
"Give their two guys (Marble, Gesell) credit, early in the game, they stepped up and knocked in their 3-point shots," said Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson. "That gave them that cushion that stayed between 5-10 (points) the rest of the game after they got that initial lead."
Northern Iowa scored eight of the next 10 points to trim the lead to 33-28, but Gesell's fourthtriple of the half at the 2:57 mark pushed Iowa's lead to 36-28. The Hawkeyes led 40-32 at the break, courtesy of a 9-of-16 performance from 3-point range.
The Hawkeyes (9-2) return to action Wednesday night, hosting South Carolina State at 8:06 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.