The Iowa men’s basketball team survived a scare from the Gardner-Webb University Runnin’ Bulldogs 65-56 after trailing by 23 in the first half. The Hawkeyes started the second half with a 13-0 run and outscored Gardner-Webb 47-18 in the 2nd half. The struggle from the free-throw line continues though, Iowa was 21-32 from the line on the game and is shooting 66% on the season.
The first half saw Devyn Marble and Mike Gesell held scoreless and the Hawkeyes commit 11 turnovers. They only had five total field goals at halftime. The play was sloppy from the beginning led to atrocious shooting.
Gardner-Webb controlled the pace of the game early on and ran their offense with relative ease. They had three players that scored in double-digits. Their second-half collapse can be attributed to their 16 turnovers.
Head Coach Fran McCaffery is known for his angry antics, but commented that his halftime speech was at a very quiet tone. His players responded well and came right of the gate, cutting the 20 point deficit in half before the 16 minute media timeout.
The Hawkeyes second half comeback was fueled by an early basket from Marble. Then from the 12 minute to the 6 minute mark combined with Oglesby for 15 of the Hawkeyes 16 points in that stretch. His ability to get to the rim on the fast-break allowed Iowa to take their first lead with eight minutes left in the game and turn that lead into a nine-point victory.
Aaron White and Josh Oglesby led the team in scoring, each with 13 points. Oglesby was key to the second half comeback, hitting three key 3-pointers that changed the game’s momentum.
The Hawkeyes stuck with a core group of players on the night, with White, Marble and Gesell each playing more than 30 minutes. The Hawkeyes had 6 players with more than 20 minutes on the night. The group that broke out in the second half wasn’t changed up much as momentum stuck on the side of the Hawkeyes throughout the second half.
Gardner-Webb’s zone worked well in the first half, but adjustments killed their zone in the second half and they made little to no adjustments to fix the hole’s.
The player that matured the most from the adversity was freshman Adam Woodbury. He scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and hit two key free throws that aided in the Hawkeye comeback.
Gardner-Webb got a quick start behind Onzie Branch and Max Landis. They combined for 17 points in the first half, but Branch was a non-factor in the second half for Runnin’ Bulldogs and left late with an ankle injury. Their primary scoring option, Landis, finished 4-of-12 from the field.
Gardner-Webb coach Chris Holtmann commented on the change in defensive pressure, “We couldn’t impose our will at all in the second half, physically they[Iowa] did.”
Iowa is now 4-0 for the first time since 2008-09. Their next game is against Western Kentucky on Nov. 21, in the Cancun Challenge down in Cancun, Mexico. Western Kentucky qualified for the NCAA Tournament in the 2011-2012 season. Depending on the results of that game they will then play November 22 against DePaul or Wichita State.