TOULON, France — Iowa lost its first exhibition on the school’s six-game European trip against a French team and former Hawkeye Pierre Pierce.
Pierre, who notoriously was dismissed from the Iowa basketball program following his second sexual assault arrest in 2005, scored 19 points to lead Hyeres-Toulon past Iowa 84-82 in overtime this afternoon.
Matt Weitzel, Iowa’s associate sports information director traveling with the team, wrote in an email to The Gazette that Iowa’s opponent, Hyeres-Toulon, provided a handwritten roster to Iowa before the game.
“Fran (McCaffery) or any of our coaches were not aware of it before they arrived at the facility today,” Iowa media relations director Steve Roe. “The opponents on this trip were scheduled by an outside agency and with the task of getting competitive games. This team would not have been scheduled by a member of the university staff.”
Pierce played three games for Hyeres-Toulon, lastly in December 2012, and was allowed to compete for the team today.
In 2002, Pierce was accused of sexually assaulting a female student-athlete. He reached a plea deal brokered by university officials that allowed him to stay on the basketball team and accept a red-shirt season. This was after Coach Steve Alford proclaimed Pierce’s innocence. In 2005, Pierce was charged with another sexual assault and was dismissed from the team. He served 11 months in prison for third-degree burglary, false imprisonment, assault with intent to commit sexual abuse and criminal trespass.
Pierce later was sent to jail for 30 days for violating his probation. Multiple times he requested to leave the country to play basketball in France, but was denied. Eventually, in 2008, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled he could leave. He since has played in France, Greece, the Ukraine and Georgia (former Soviet republic).
The game featured numerous back-and-forth moments. Iowa trailed by six points with 1 minute left. Aaron White scored on a putback at the buzzer to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Iowa senior guard Devyn Marble scored 18 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished eight assists. Iowa senior forward Melsahn Basabe scored 15 points and pulled down six rebounds. Iowa senior forward Zach McCabe had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Junior center Gabe Olaseni scored 11 points and junior guard Josh Oglesby added 10.
Iowa finishes exhibition play Tuesday against Fos-Ouest Basket in Fos-Sur-Mer, France.
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