This wasn’t the easiest of 24 hours for Iowa standout senior guard Roy Devyn Marble. Reports Wednesday noted how it was Marble who broke down telling his team about the surgery required by head coach Fran McCaffery‘s son, which caused McCaffery to leave the Hawkeyes briefly Wednesday morning before returning to coach the club in that night’s NCAA Tournament First Four matchup against the Tennessee Volunteers.
Marble, who followed in the footsteps of his dad and Iowa legend Roy Marble with the Hawkeyes, was the type of player many college basketball fans can appreciate — one who improved his game each season and stayed all four years. He’ll finish his career sixth in Iowa history in assists (397) and seventh in steals (176). The younger Marble finished with 1,694 career points, which will place him fifth on the Hawkeyes’ all-time scoring list, just in front of Ronnie Lester, who led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four, and four spots behind the elder Marble — Iowa’s all-time leader at 2,116 points (1986-89).
A lot was expected of Roy Devyn Marble in his Iowa career, perhaps based on his name alone. He scored all but 178 of his career points in his final three years, and he led Iowa to 45 wins in the past two seasons, bringing the Hawkeyes back to relevance both in the Big 10 and nationally after several down years late in the 2000s. Unfortunately for the younger Marble, the one thing he will leave Iowa without is an NCAA Tournament win. Marble went 3-for-15 from the field and finished with just seven points (and five assists) in Iowa’s 78-65 overtime loss to Tennessee Wednesday night. Center Adam Woodbury (16 points) tried to make up the difference and Marble hit the shot that tied the game and sent it to the extra session, but it wasn’t enough.
Marble missed part of the overtime due to an apparent ankle injury, and neither he nor any of his teammates could find their shooting mark in the extra period, going 0-for-8 from the field in the final five minutes. In a troubling end for Marble, his final two shots, both in overtime, missed as the Volunteers (22-12) pulled away. Tennessee outscored Iowa 14-1 in the overtime. The Volunteers, who were led by Jordan McRae‘s 20 points, are now the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region and will play Massachusetts on Friday afternoon.
It was an unfortunate set of circumstances for Marble and the Hawkeyes which of course didn’t even compare to the tumor surgery McCaffery’s son endured earlier in the day, according to the Associated Press. While everyone’s thoughts now turn to hoping he makes a full recovery, Iowa fans know they also have now seen the end of an era in Iowa City. The original Roy Marble helped get the Hawkeyes to the Sweet 16 twice, and Iowa lost a regional final in 1987. Currently, Iowa (20-13) hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since beating Creighton in the first round in 2001. There were hopes that a new Marble would change that, but for him and the Hawkeyes, it wasn’t meant to be. Iowa loses three seniors total, but replacing Marble will be a huge task.
While Iowa never achieved the NCAA Tournament success many had hoped during Marble’s four years, Marble’s career has to go down as one of the best in the history of Iowa basketball and the Hawkeyes have turned the corner. That shouldn’t be forgotten, even if on this night — and the entire day — things didn’t go as the Hawkeyes would have planned.