Entering Sunday afternoon’s matchup against No. 3 Ohio State, the Iowa Hawkeyes (ranked 20th in the nation) were 13-3, with all three losses being away from home against top 10 opponents. I guess in this case, the fourth time was a charm, as the Hawkeyes finally got that marquee win that they have been looking for,when they knocked off Ohio State 84-74 in Columbus, Ohio. This is Iowa’s first win against a top five team since they knocked off number 2 Missouri on the road, way back in 2001.
Senior guard Roy Devyn Marble has been the best player on a very deep Iowa squad all season long, and he really stepped his game up in this one. Marble finished with 22 points on 7-13 shooting, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks. Marble was the jack of all trades for the Hawkeyes on both sides of the court, and was finally able to hit his free throws down the stretch. In all three losses this season, the Hawkeyes had double-digit leads at some point in the game. They blew each game down the stretch, and poor free throw shooting by Marble was a huge reason why. He went 8-for-11 from the line in this one including many at the end that helped Iowa put the nail in the coffin.
The Buckeyes were led by LaQuinton Ross, who finished the game with 22 points and seven rebounds. Senior point guard Aaron Craft was his usual pesky self with three steals and six assists, but he missed a couple of big free throws down the stretch, had six turnovers and fouled out towards the end of the game. Craft is a great player that will surely bounce back, but he did not bring his best effort in this one.
Iowa also got outstanding play from forward Aaron White, who finished with 19 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Senior big man Melsahn Basabe was also a key for the Hawkeyes, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Basabe had one of the biggest plays in the game, when he tipped in a Marble miss to increase the Iowa lead to four with two minutes left.
This Ohio State team has been incredible defensively this season. The most points that it had given up in regulation before this game was 70. The Hawkeyes put 84 on it. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery has the Hawkeyes rolling offensively with his fast paced tempo. This team will be tough for anybody to knock off.
With this big win under their belt, the Hawkeyes are serious contenders in the Big Ten. This team can legitimately go 11 deep in their rotation, which each player effective in his own way. The only question about this Iowa team heading into this game was its ability to win games against elite competition. It has proved that it can do just that in a tough environment on the road. Led by Marble, the sky is the limit for this Iowa team.