Everything looks good for Iowa when Roy Devyn Marble plays well, and he did that and more as the Hawkeyes got back on the winning track at home with a very important 85-67 win over Michigan, keeping their Big Ten aspirations alive and well going into the final stretch of the regular season.
Iowa came out breathing fire, and were leading by 14 points at the end of the first half. Marble scored 22 of his 26 points in the first half in what was probably his best Big Ten game of the season, and his second best scoring performance of conference play.
I just wanted to come out and be aggressive. I just told the guys come out here and play hard. If we win, we win, if we lose, we lose. But you won’t be able to doubt our lack of toughness and our energy on both ends of the court.
Iowa lost three of their last five going into the game, including at home to Ohio State and Michigan State. Now, at 7-4 in the Big Ten, they can still hope to catch up to the Spartans and the Wolverines, although they still have to play in Michigan State and against Indiana on the road as part of the closing stretch, while Wisconsin is their toughest rival from the remaining home schedule.
Marble was the catalyst, and everything flowed through him: Melsahn Basabe dominated down low with 8 points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes; Mike Gessell had a lot of space to operate in, scoring 10 points on 2-of-2 from beyond the arc and adding 8 assists; Aaron White (with 11 points) had a strong game while the Iowa bench added 24 points.
Iowa ran, while Michigan looked stunned. The Hawkeyes gave Michigan their biggest loss of the season, and their worst overall since losing by 18 on Feb. 6, 2010, against Wisconsin. It was a bad night for Michigan’s stars, as Nik Stauskas had only 10 points while Glenn Robinson III was stuck on 2. The sole shining light in the starting five, Caris LeVert, scored 22 points, outscoring the other four who started next to him. The Robinson-Stauskas duo scored less than half its combined seasonal average, which stands at 30.9 points per game.
Iowa punched us early today, and it was hard to respond. This is how they were playing early in the season no matter who they were playing.
Iowa scored more points in transition (22-8), in the paint (34-18) and off second chances (14-8), as the Wolverines seemed a step too slow and not in the right frame of mind when it came to aggression and handling the defense Iowa threw at them. Michigan’s own defense followed promptly, as the 85 points they gave up are the most they’ve allowed in a non-overtime game since Dec. 12, 2007 against Oakland, a game they won 103-87.
To beat Michigan, you have to play the kind of defense we played. They have so many different weapons so it was not only getting stops, it was getting stops and then running and getting offensive opportunities in transition.