IOWA CITY — Josh Oglesby has felt the sting of a Fran McCaffery tongue-lashing many times in his two seasons at Iowa.
The sophomore guard usually sees his coach’s wrath when he passes up an open shot, not when he misses one. But on Friday against Iowa State, Oglesby experienced the depth of his coach’s passion in the locker room after whiffing on his only 3-point attempt and turning over the ball twice in the first half.
“I went after him at halftime like I’ve never gone after him before, because I think the world of him, and I know what he’s capable of,” McCaffery said. “I really challenged him.”
“He got on to me,” said Oglesby, a Cedar Rapids Washington graduate. “My first one I shot was an airball, and it kind of got to me. And he ripped me at halftime.”
Oglesby, Iowa’s top perimeter shooter, has been streaky this year. He missed 13 of his first 14 3-point attempts but has knocked down at least three 3-pointers in three different games.
“He was going to go one way or the other in the second half,” McCaffery said. “It wasn’t going to be anywhere in between.”
Oglesby entered the second half with 17:43 left and was allowed to shoot at will. He missed his first 3-point attempt, but teammate Eric May followed with the putback. Then, one possession later, Iowa ran a three-side counter, which is designed to get Oglesby the ball from the wing. Oglesby was open and drilled his first 3-pointer to extend Iowa’s six-point lead to nine points.
After Iowa State cut the lead back to six points, Oglesby again knocked down a 3-pointer to put Iowa ahead 60-51 with 10:18 left in the game.
Two possessions later, Oglesby scored a layup off a Devyn Marble assist.
But it was Oglesby’s 3-pointers that changed the game in an 80-71 win. In the first half Iowa turned a 10-point lead into a one-point deficit when five straight possessions ended with either missed 3-point attempts of turnovers. The Hawkeyes struggled from the perimeter, making only two of their first 12 3-point attempts.
Iowa needed Oglesby to keep Iowa State at bay in the second half, and McCaffery planned to feed him.
“When he’s on the floor, I’m constantly thinking about going to him,” McCaffery said. “I’ve got my point guard or whoever is pushing the ball on the break, looking for him. We are always looking for him, and he has the green light no matter what.
“Even if we say, ‘OK, we are going to run clock and we are going to shoot it late in the possession’ … he has the green light, and he knows that, and he knows that’s the kind of confidence I have in him. I don’t think he’ll ever play without the kind of confidence I need him to unless he knows I have that kind of confidence in him.”
While some athletes bristle from criticism, especially with McCaffery’s intensity, Oglesby brushes off the volume and instead responds to the message.
“It motivates me,” said Oglesby, who averages 5.8 points and leads Iowa with 15 3-pointers. “Some players can get down about it, especially in the first half I played. I didn’t play very well. But I like that. He challenged me, and I thought I played pretty well in the second half.”
Oglesby finished with eight points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and three turnovers in 20 minutes. But he had only one turnover and hit 3-of-5 shots in 13 second-half minutes.
“I think he showed us what he’s capable of and the kind of person he is,” McCaffery said.
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