The Iowa offense struggled in the second half on Thursday night.
Well, excluding Devyn Marble.
Marble paced the Hawkeyes (3-0), as they were able to maintain a steady margin throughout and defeat Howard, 66-36, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Howard (0-2) chipped away at several stages, but was not able to overcome the point differential, which was 26 early in the second half.
That offense was generated mostly from Marble, who finished with 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. The junior guard/forward scored 11 of his team’s first 13.
“I wanted to come out aggressive and get off to a fast start,” Marble said. “We didn’t want to let this team get any confidence early on, which is why we pressed hard. I just happened to knock my shots down.”
At times, the offense was spotty. The Black and Gold found itself into a few ruts. From second to third media timeouts in the second half — at marks 10:36 and 7:54 — Iowa scored just one point.
But Marble would consistently come back to push the Hawkeyes, as did sophomore Aaron White. The Strongsville, Ohio, native had dunks on back-to-back possessions about midway through the second, including a thunderous slam that had the crowd on their feat.
White was second on the team in scoring, finishing with 16 points on 3-of-7 shooting and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line.
“Mike [Gesell] finally threw me a lob pass,” White said of his dunk. “We got out in transition, especially in the second half. That’s where we’re best as a team. He made a good pass, and it brought good energy to the game. The bench went crazy, so it was fun.”
Howard employed a 2-3 zone from the opening tip in attempt to slow down a normally fast-paced Hawkeye offense. The Bison did a good job executing that, and neutralized the 3-point shooting: Iowa was only 4-of-21 from beyond the arc.
Additionally, Howard was able to limit most of the other scoring options for the Hawkeyes. Aside from Marble and White, Eric May — who was fifth off the bench — had the third-best point total with 8.
However, Iowa’s ability to create havoc in the middle of the zone defense and also spread personnel around were big reasons for head coach Fran McCaffery and Co.’s third-straight win to open the 2012-13 campaign.
“If you’re flashing somebody to the high post, there’s got to be someone ready to make a play. If you get it to the low post, same thing,” McCaffery said. “I thought we did a pretty good job certainly with Marble in the high post, White was there … we had to adjust.”