IOWA CITY — Devyn Marble often hears “money” references when it comes to his play in the clutch. Wednesday night, there was no jingle, just straight cash against Minnesota.
With the Hawkeyes trailing by five points late in the second half, Marble drilled a 3-pointer and followed with a dunk one possession later to tie the game. With Iowa nursing a two-point lead, Marble found Matt Gatens open under the basket for the game-clinching field goal to lift the Hawkeyes (12-11, 4-6 Big Ten) to a 63-59 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa swept Minnesota (16-7, 4-6 Big Ten) for the first time since 2007.
Marble, a sophomore, doesn’t attempt many 3-pointers but with Iowa trailing 59-54 and only 2 minutes, 26 seconds left in the game, he figured it was time for a play. Marble was open at the top of the key and drilled the shot.
“When I get my feet set underneath me, they’re money,” said Marble, who scored 12 points. “It’s not one of my favorite shots, but I have confidence when I shoot it.
“I knew it was a good time to take it, a momentum changer. So I stepped in and knocked it down.”
On Minnesota’s next possession. Andre Hollins missed an open 3-point attempt and Iowa once again put the ball in Marble’s hands. Marble drove past Hollins and charged toward 6-foot-11 post Ralph Sampson III. Marble, who stands 6-foot-6, went over the top of Sampson for a dunk to tie the score with 1:37 left.
“As soon as I saw him in the lane, I knew I was going to do that,” Marble said. “I don’t go on the top too often. I had a business meeting tonight, and I took care of business.”
Iowa guard Bryce Cartwright stripped Sampson III on Minnesota’s next possession. The ball caromed to Iowa freshman Aaron White, who tapped it back to Cartwright. Cartwright then drove the length of the court, went up strong at the basket and was fouled with 1:05 left in the game. Cartwright hit both free throws, and Iowa had only its second lead of the second half.
“I saw an opportunity to get it,” Cartwright said. “I hit it and it started a chain reaction and it ended up being a steal.”
Minnesota’s Julian Welch missed a jumper on the Gophers’ next possession, and Marble then worked down the clock. With eight seconds left and a two-point lead, Marble drove the lane on Minnesota’s Rodney Williams, and Sampson stepped up to fill the void. Marble found Gatens wide open under the basket for the easy layup and a 63-59 lead.
“It was a difficult angle, so I had to kind of like dive and get it around the big man,” Marble said. “I knew I was going to get it to him.”
The win answered several questions for Iowa, especially after a flat defensive effort in a 103-89 loss to Indiana on Sunday. The Hawkeyes took a 12-point, first-half lead on the Gophers, only to fall apart offensively near halftime and into the second half. Minnesota led by 10 at 45-35 with 12:20 left.
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery was pleased with his team’s response.
“I would say that we were phenomenally tough, and it shows you that we’re capable of playing like that on a regular basis,” McCaffery said.
After weathering Iowa’s early barrage, Minnesota answered nearly every important Iowa basket until the final 3 minutes. When Iowa took a 24-21 lead, Williams hit a 3-pointer to tie it. When a Gatens dunk cut Iowa’s deficit to 36-33, Chip Armelin nailed a 3-pointer to push the lead back to six. When Gatens sank a 3-pointer to pull Iowa within one at 45-44, Welch hit a 3-pointer. When Melsahn Basabe hit a pair of free throws to pull Iowa with 51-50, Welch made another 3-pointer.
Later on when Gatens tied the score 53-53 with a drive to the basket, Austin Hollins sank a 3-pointer. Gatens made one of two free throws a possession later to cut the deficit to 56-54 only to see Oto Osenieks hit a 3-pointer to push it to 59-54.
Iowa then stiffened on defense and rallied with big plays offensively on a 9-0 run to end the game.
“I thought that they were more aggressive, and they felt the momentum changing,” Minnesota Coach Tubby Smith said. “They made some jumpers and the dunk there on the drive, those things hurt you.”
Gatens led the Hawkeyes with 18 points. Marble finished with 12 points, five rebounds and two assists. He said afterward he wanted the ball in his hands when the game was on the line, and he got it. And he finished it.
“Players make plays and I have the confidence in myself to step up into that role and try and help my team close out games like this,” Marble said. “I felt like I did it in the Wisconsin game, and I felt like I did it today.
“Closing out games means you’ve got to take the shot. The Matt play I created for him so he could have a easy bucket and that iced the game right there.”
Williams 3-7 2-4 9, Sampson III 5-10 3-3 13, Welch 4-8 1-1 12, Coleman 0-2 0-0 0, Au. Hollins 3-11 2-2 11, An. Hollins 2-5 0-0 5, Osenieks 1-2 0-1 3, Ahanmisi 0-0 1-3 1, Armelin 2-4 0-0 5, Eliason 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-51 9-14 59.<
McCabe 2-5 3-4 8, White 2-7 5-7 9, Marble 5-9 1-1 12, Gatens 7-14 2-4 18, Cartwright 2-9 2-4 6, Olaseni 0-0 0-0 0, Basabe 3-7 2-4 8, Oglesby 0-5 2-2 2, Archie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-56 17-26 63.<
Halftime_Minnesota 27-24. 3-Point Goals_Minnesota 10-19 (Welch 3-5, Au. Hollins 3-9, Armelin 1-1, Osenieks 1-1, Williams 1-1, An. Hollins 1-2), Iowa 4-14 (Gatens 2-6, Marble 1-2, McCabe 1-2, White 0-1, Cartwright 0-1, Oglesby 0-2). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Minnesota 35 (Coleman, Eliason 6), Iowa 39 (McCabe 10). Assists_Minnesota 17 (Welch 6), Iowa 13 (Cartwright, McCabe 4). Total Fouls_Minnesota 18, Iowa 13. A_11,232.