Hawkeyes Headed to NIT Final Four

Iowa beat Virginia 75-64 on Wednesday night to advance to the NIT semifinals for the first time in school history. Iowa will meet second-seeded Maryland on Tuesday, April 2, in Madison Square Garden.

Devyn Marble turned in his third-straight scintillating performance, scoring 24 points, dishing out five assists, recording three steals and three boards with just two turnovers. That matches his 24 points from Iowa’s win against Stony Brook and the 28 he put up in Iowa’s first NIT game against Indiana State. When you toss in his NIT game against Oregon last year, he has scored 107 points in NIT games in his career, or 9.6% of the 1,107 career points he has scored as a Hawkeye. He now has 527 points during this junior year in 35 games played, bettering the 522 scored by his father Roy during his junior year.

Since moving over to the poing guard position nine games ago for the injured Mike Gesell, Marble has averaged 18.6 points per game and has grabbed 37 rebounds and dished out 34 assists. In the game against Virginia, he hit some rain-making bailout shots when Iowa needed one, he hit a three-point shot when Iowa needed one and he hit his free throws when Iowa needed them.

Speaking of free throws, this game was another example of poor officiating. Even color commentator Dan Dakich said as much during the telecast and on more than one occasion. With less than four-minutes to go in the game, Iowa had taken just one free throw attempt. They wound up making 15 of 15 free throws before it was over as they had a double-digit lead and the Cavaliers were fouling Iowa on purpose. The officiating in college basketball this year has been the worst I have ever seen. The Hawkeyes made all 14 of their free throw attempts in the final 3:09 of the game. Iowa was whistled for 17 fouls to Virginia’s 15. That’s not a big disparity, until you see that Virginia committed eight of those fouls in the final four minutes of the game and each one of them was intentional in order to send Iowa to the line.

Zach McCabe and Adam Woodbury scored 10 each for Iowa, with Woodbury pulling down a team best eight rebounds. It’s a surprise Iowa was able to win a road game over a Top 30 opponent with Aaron White recording just one basket and that one didn’t come until there were just over seven minutes to play in the game. White wound up 1-6 from the floor but did hit all four of his free throw attempts. The ‘Pack Line Defense’ employed by Virginia most of the game was definitely not conducive to offensive put backs or transition baskets, as the Cavaliers were sending everyone back after shot attempts to limit any transition buckets. Melsahn Basabe didn’t score a point, so when you add that with White’s struggles and still Iowa won by double-digits? Go figure.

Eric May scored eight points, including two clutch three-point shots. It seems like every basket May has scored in the post season has come at an important time.

Iowa shot nearly 50 percent from the floor, including 8-17 from the three-point arc. Iowa won the battle of the boards 34-26 and Iowa had one less turnover, 15-16.

Iowa snapped Virginia’s 19-game home winning streak; a streak that dated back to Nov. 13, 2012. Iowa is also just the third team to score 70 or more against Virginia this season.

Iowa moves to 24-12 with the win, the third highest win total in school history. The 36 games are the most by an Iowa team in one season and Iowa will play at least one more next week at Madison Square Garden.

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