The Hawkeye men took on both Indiana teams last week, hosting Purdue last Wednesday and traveling to Indiana on Saturday.
The Boilermaker game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which Iowa won 58-48, was one of those grind-it-out games that wasn’t a lot of fun to watch… unless you were an Iowa fan.
It didn’t help that Mike Gesell was out with a stress fracture. He has averaged the most minutes since the Big Ten season started and might be back for the Big Ten Tournament.
Devyn Marble looked good taking over the point. He had 18 points, four assists and only three turnovers in 29 minutes.
Devyn has such long arms, can handle the ball and can work to get a good shot.
Josh Oglesby got the start in place of Mike and finished with 5, including a big 3-pointer late in the game.
Iowa’s defense stepped up, holding Purdue to 16 points in the first half.
“We played phenomenal defense the entire game,” said coach Fran McCaffery.
That was big since the Hawkeye offense went almost 13 minutes in the first half without a basket. It was a good thing the Hawks were 21-29 from the free throw line as they shot only 21 percent in the first half, 31 percent for the game from the floor.
Adam Woodbury didn’t score again, but didn’t get into foul trouble, got a couple of steals, a block and an assist. Adam doesn’t always need to score but his 7-1 presence in the middle can help affect the game.
Aaron White was 11-14 from the free throw line, scoring 18 points and had nine boards.
I didn’t have a good feeling when Minnesota knocked off Indiana, which was No. 1 at the time, last week.
Indiana was ranked No. 1 for a reason… they are good!
Coming into the game against Iowa last Saturday, the Hoosiers were 16-1 at home… make that 17-1 after they beat the Hawks, 73-60.
I believed that when the season got going that there were two players Iowa couldn’t afford to lose because of injury– Devyn Marble and Mike Gesell.
Devyn missed the Michigan State game in Iowa City on Jan. 10 and the Hawks lost 62-59 to the Spartans.
I don’t think Mike would have made the difference in last Saturday’s loss to the Hoosiers, but he might have helped.
Mike was second on the team in assists (79), was the third-leading scorer on the team (9.0), was shooting 39 percent from the floor, 32 percent from 3-point range and still leads the team in steals with 33.
Injuries are part of the game, but for Iowa, it’s not a good part.
The bottom line is Iowa has a tough time scoring, especially against Indiana as they scored only 14 points in the first half.
Twenty-nine percent shooting from the floor, no free throws and no 3-pointers didn’t help in the first half.
Right now Devyn (20 points), Aaron White (14) and Eric May (12) are the only Hawks producing on offense.
Iowa drops to 18-11, 7-9 in the Big Ten and it looks like another bubble is ready to burst.
Hawkeye women win two
The Iowa women finished their regular season with a home game against Indiana and a road trip to Northwestern.
Last Thursday was senior night at Carver for the Hawkeyes.
Trisha Nesbitt, Jaime Printy and Morgan Johnson would be playing their last regular season game at home, but it won’t be the last one at Carver.
Down by 18, the Hawks turned up the defense, started hitting outside shots and had the best player in the Big Ten coming off the bench.
Lisa Bluder said in her press conference last week how good her seniors were at leadership, working hard on and off the court and keeping good attitudes when things weren’t going right.
The coach also talked about how good Melissa Dixon was coming off the bench and how quick she got her shot off.
Morgan and Jaime both played 38 minutes and combined for 31 points (22 in the second half). Morgan had nine rebounds and Jaime had six assists, but it was Melissa Dixon who sparked the comeback. She scored 22 points in 34 minutes including five 3s.
Theairra Taylor, who came in with the seniors but had to redshirt, had 11 points on 4-5 shooting from the floor.
I talked a couple of weeks ago how the Iowa loss to Northwestern, 67-65, on Feb. 9 at Carver was one of the toughest losses of the year.
The Hawks led by as many as 14 points in the second half only to lose on a last-second layup.
Last Sunday at Evanston, Iowa scored 31 points in both halves, led 31-22 at halftime and cruised to a 62-45 win.
This time when the Wildcats made a run, the Hawkeyes had an answer and that was Melissa Dixon. She came off the bench, played 30 minutes, scored 21 points and hit five 3-pointers.
“Whenever we are in an offensive drought we look for Melissa,” said coach Bluder. “She’s the one that can get us going.”
How about Samantha Logic, who broke Cara Consuegra’s single season assist record (191) with seven in the game and has 198 assists for the season. She still has at least two games left to play.
When Cara was a senior, that was my first year working for the North Liberty Leader and covering the Hawkeyes. Cara was as good as it gets and Samantha has a chance to be as good and maybe better.
“Anytime you break a record with all of the great point guards that’ve played at Iowa that’s remarkable,” said coach Lisa Bluder.
Morgan Johnson and Bethany Doolittle provided the one-two punch down low with 16 and 10 points. Morgan also had nine boards, three steals and two blocked shots. The two blocks moved her into fifth place on the Big Ten career blocks list.
Morgan has played in 126 games for the Hawkeyes. She is tied with Johanna Solverson for second place. Kamille Wahlin holds the record with 127 games played.
I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing for the Hawkeyes, but they play Northwestern this Thursday in the opening game of the Big Ten Tournament.
Iowa is seeded seventh, Northwestern 11th and the game starts at 11:30 a.m.
The win puts the Hawks at 19-11, 8-8 in the Big Ten and puts them in the NCAA tournament in which they host the first two rounds.
Every win in the Big Ten Tournament will help Iowa get a better seed.