For the No. 23 Iowa Hawkeyes, one of their starters having an off-night isn’t a big deal. Iowa went into half-time of tonight’s game against Fairleigh Dickinson without their leading scorer, Devyn Marble, having scored a single point. The Hawkeyes were still up by 21 at that juncture thanks to solid contributions from several players.
Marble ended up finishing the game with seven points on 3-for-9 shooting, but his contributions were matched by several others. Melsahn Basabe, Zach McCabe, Jarrod Uthoff, Mike Gesell, Aaron White and Adam Woodbury all made several big plays to help the Hawkeyes improve to 10-1 on the season and remain unbeaten at home with the 92-59 victory.
Gesell nearly eliminated the Knights’ best offensive weapon, Sidney Sanders Jr., by himself with suffocating defense that limited Sanders to 5-for-20 shooting from the field. Basabe and Uthoff combined to grab 21 rebounds, which nearly equaled the 30 rebounds Fairleigh got as a team. McCabe, White and Woodbury’s combined to give Iowa an 11-point advantage in points in the paint.
Tonight wasn’t the only example of Iowa’s quality depth. In their first game of the year, it was Uthoff that led the team in scoring. In the third game of the season, seven players scored in double figures for the Hawkeyes. Against Xavier, a double-double from Gabe Olaseni made a huge difference.
This is the Hawkeyes’ last game before an in-state showdown with the No. 17 Iowa State Cyclones in Ames, and Iowa looks to be far deeper. There are also teams in the Big 10 that don’t even play as many players as the Hawkeyes do, much less consistently get production from that many nine to 10 players.
If the Hawkeyes can continue to get similar production from the vast majority of their roster, they will be difficult to keep from contending for not only a Big 10 Championship but in the field of 68 in March as well.