That is not a typo…but it sure seems like a page out of some bizarro world.
Unbeknownst to Iowa, former Hawkeye Pierre Pierce suited up for Hyeres-Toulon.
Iowa SID Steve Roe said UI officials were unaware until entering the gymnasium today that Pierre Pierce would be on the oppposing team.
— Pat Harty (@PatHarty) August 19, 2013
Roe said the opponents were lined up by an outside booking source. Sounds like it was just a coincidence, an unfortunate one.
— Pat Harty (@PatHarty) August 19, 2013
I’m not sure I’d go as far as to call it an unfortunate occurrence. Sure, you don’t want to have anything to do with Pierre Pierce if you’re Iowa. He was a part of one of the most disgraceful situations the athletic department has been involved in in recent memory. As you’ll see below in the official write up from Iowa, Pierce’s name is never mentioned, nor was it mentioned that Pierce beat Iowa on a last second shot. Still, you’d rather not play against him or be in the same gym he’s in.
Pierce scored a game high 19 points and one would presume he and Devyn Marble were matched up against one another quite a bit. For all of his personal demons and faults, Pierce was probably the most talented basketball player Iowa has had in the backcourt since Ricky Davis’ one and done year in the late 1990’s. That’s likely why Steve Alford gave him another chance and ‘vouched’ for him in the totally unprofessional and inappropriate way he did back in 2002.
Marble scored 18 points, had nine boards and eight assists in the loss. Iowa had five players in double figures, continuing their balanced scoring attack they have shown on this trip. Iowa went cold from three-point range (6-24) and Peter Jok was 1-7, his worst statistical game since he was a junior in high school. Josh Oglesby was 2-8, so Iowa’s two shooting specialists were a combined 3-15. Adam Woodbury, Gabe Olaseni and Zach McCabe were all saddled with four fouls.
One thing I noticed was Olaseni starting in lieu of Woodbury. Woodbury started every game for Iowa as a freshman and had three of the four games on this trip. The only game he hadn’t started was the second game in London and Coach McCaffery said before Iowa made the trip that Olaseni would start both games in front of his family and friends in London.
However, Olaseni has been playing well all summer long and his stat lines from the European trip have been very solid. Olaseni is the team’s best interior defender and he was 12th in the Big Ten in blocks last year despite averaging just 10.7 minutes per game. I don’t want to read anything into this as Fran said before the trip that he was going to be able to use several different lineups, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Olaseni was the starting center this year given his growth on offense adding to his already impressive defensive abilities.
Now, time for the official University of Iowa write up, and box score beneath it.
TOULON, France – The University of Iowa men’s basketball team tied Hyeres-Toulon at the end of regulation, but ultimately fell, 84-82, in overtime Monday night in an exhibition contest. The loss was the Hawkeyes’ first in five games of their European tour.
After forcing a turnover with 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation after a Zach McCabe basket, Iowa had one final opportunity to even the score. Roy Devyn Marble lobbed a perfect in-bounds pass from the sidelines just above the rim, where Aaron White caught it and laid it in to send the game to overtime.
“I had multiple options on that inbounds pass,” explained Marble. “I had Peter (Jok) going to the corner, I had Josh (Oglesby) at the top after a screen, and I saw Josh’s man follow him so I was able to find Aaron (White) on the lob.”
The Hawkeyes trailed by as many as five points in the extra session, yet continued to fight to the end. Marble sank a 3-pointer with 90 seconds left to pull within three points (82-80). After a pair of defensive stops, Jarrod Uthoff drained a jumper with 18 seconds left to tie the contest. Hyeres-Toulon scored in the final seconds to post the two-point victory.
“It seemed like the game was over when they made a three with a minute left,” said head coach Fran McCaffery. “But we kept attacking, made couple shots, forced some turnovers and of course made the shot that sent the game to overtime with under a second to play. We made mistakes tonight and tried to recover from those mistakes, and that’s how you grow.”
Trailing by six with 30 seconds left in regulation, McCabe drained a 3-pointer to pull within 70-67. After Hyeres-Toulon split a pair of free throws, McCabe scored again with two seconds left to make the score 71-69. Intense defensive pressure on the in-bounds forced a turnover, which led to the game-tying shot after a Hawkeye timeout.
Marble nearly posted a triple-double tonight, scoring 18 points, grabbing nine rebounds and being credited with eight assists. McCabe scored eight of his 11 points in the final 25 minutes, while also clearing a game-high 10 rebounds for a double-double. Starting frontcourt duo Gabriel Olaseni and Melsahn Basabe combined to score 26 points, bolstered by 12-of-18 (.667) shooting from the field, and nine rebounds. Josh Oglesby contributed 10 points and dished out five assists.
“This will help us get better, especially when the season starts because we have already been in a battle,” Marble said.
Iowa will play its final exhibition game tomorrow night against Fos-Ouest at 7:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. CT) before returning to the United States on Thursday.