COMEBACK: Hawks Escape in OT

(Photo Credit Atlantis Resort)


Iowa beat Xavier 77-74 in Overtime in the Bahamas on Thursday night and did so playing at about a ‘C’ level.

The following tweet comes from an ESPN contributor and is a sentiment a lot of us probably shared following Iowa’s opener in the Battle 4 Atlantis:

Iowa trailed by 15 points with just over 15 minutes left in the game and was also down 55-42 with 10:13 to play. That’s when Iowa went on a 12-0 run over the next 02:04, eight of those points coming from Devyn Marble including two 3-point baskets.

Marble was huge for Iowa, scoring 30 points in 32 minutes, but his time was cut short because of severe cramping in his lower legs. He sat out the final few minutes of regulation and the entire overtime, a critical stretch of the game.

That’s when the rest of the team picked him up, including Gabe Olaseni and Mike Gesell. Olaseni was active and got to the free throw line, hitting eight of his nine attempts on the night including five in the last three minutes. Iowa didn’t lead in this game until 4:06 remained in overtime.

After Marble went out of the game, Olaseni scored a team best seven points in the final seven minutes of action while Gesell had four points.

The officiating in this game was ‘interesting’. The first 20 minutes looked a lot like last year, with all sorts of contact being allowed. Fran McCaffery received a technical foul after the first half had ended after pleading his case with the officials. Then in the second half, things went the other direction as the officials were calling everything and were generally poor for both teams. Two players fouled out for both squads.

As I mentioned to start, Iowa probably played at a ‘C’ level; they were very poor in the first half, getting outrebounded on the offensive glass by three boards and generally being out-hustled to every loose ball. The second half was better, but it was really the second half of the second half where Iowa began to play to its potential and much of that was without its best player.

That’s a big deal for this club and why the embedded tweet above resonates even more; Iowa probably would have lost this game last year. Xavier even had three separate three-point attempts in the last 20 seconds of overtime to tie it, but none of them found the mark. After last season, I felt like each one of those shots was going to go down. This year, they didn’t.

Some might wonder if Iowa was sleepwalking through the first half because they hadn’t played any good teams yet this season. There may be something to that and I also think there may be something to this game turning out to be pretty important to this team in the long run. They just received a slap of reality and a true start to this season. They won without the services of their best player down the stretch and Jarrod Uthoff scoring zero points and Adam Woodbury getting just two. They also won after being down 15 points in the second half and shooting just 30.3% from the floor for the second half as well as shooting less than 22 percent from three in th second half. It was an unlikely comeback, to be sure…perhaps in the realm of Iowa’s comeback win against Michigan on the football field last week.

It was a great team win but the Hawkeyes cant dwell and get comfortable; they will play UTEP tomorrow night at 6PM Iowa time (televised on NBC Sports Network) and if they win that one it will likely meet Kansas on Saturday night. However, this team will take it one game at a time…Thursday night’s battle will be the perfect reminder.


*Iowa rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit and ultimately win 77-74 in overtime. The Hawkeyes did not lead in the game until 4:06 left in overtime
*This was the second-ever overtime game in Battle 4 Atlantis history (Florida State-Connecticut in 2011)
*Tonight marked Iowa’s first overtime win since March 7, 2009 (vs. Penn State)
*Iowa improved to 6-0 for the first time since 2003-04 season
*Roy Devyn Marble poured in a game-high 30 points, one shy of his career-best of 31 set against Oregon in March 2012. The 30 points are the second-most in Battle 4 Atlantis history (41 Andre Hollins of Minnesota in 2012). Marble has scored 30+ points three times in his career (Oregon, 31; Northern Iowa, 30)
*Gabriel Olaseni had 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds – his first career double-double

McCaffery & Marble Audio

  • louie

    Great win,but 2 concerns:White has to be the softest 6-8 player i have ever seen in college.he is way too passive on the floor .I have seen no change in 3 years.Woodbury needs to play half as much as Olisiani. think one of the main reasons we won is because woody fouled out.Woody is a 7 ft. kid trying to be a big ten player ,but has no natural ability to him.

    • HNStaff

      I think White is far more effective at the 4 position…but he plays a lot of three….which has him 20 feet from the basket and he’s not a great outside shooter.

      • frank

        Which probably also lends to the point of woodbury playing less in order for this team to be really good.

  • Whew!

    For as fiery as Fran is, his Iowa teams always look “soft” to me. Iowa is not aggressive. The Hawkeyes lack swagger. I don’t see how they can be a great team until they get some of that, yet I don’t see it in the DNA of these kids. It doesn’t need to be everybody, but one or two need to set the example. McCabe may come the closest. I was surprised he held his composure last night when that little guard undercut him on the rebound, locked arms and tossed him on his back while the official stood there and swallowed the whistle.

    I was also disappointed to see Gesell and Clemmons playing soft in the OT and letting themselves get trapped and giving up steals. That’s how Iowa lost some games last year. That’s where somebody has to have some swagger, someone has to be aggressive. Instead, they went into a shell.

    So it was a great win, no doubt, but White and Uthoff were also shockingly passive. Uthoff is somewhat understandable, but White? He played in Russia. He played on the European trip. He and Marble are the faces of the program, but White played with no confidence, no leadership, no swagger.

    I think this team can win the Big Ten title, even the NCAA title this year. I do. BUT not playing as soft as it did last night. Obviously there’s a ways to go, but my concern right now is who’s going to be the tough guys who spark the swagger, who are aggressive at key junctures, who let the opponent know Iowa will never back down. That, I think, is the real key to how this season plays out.

  • WIlliam Vonnegut

    Shot under 40% from the field. Under 30% from three. Under 70% from the line. Continues to will a way to win. Very impressive. I think many games this season are going to look like that. Watch out if they shoot halfway decent against a tough opponent. They could beat anyone.

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