The Iowa Hawkeyes beat Maryland 71-60 on Tuesday night and will meet Baylor for the NIT title on Thursday night in New York.
Devyn Marble led Iowa with 21 point and nine rebounds in 33 minutes of action as Iowa forced the tempo and forced Maryland to play a sloppy game.
Coming into this game, the biggest stats that jumped out at you was how much Maryland turned the ball over and how little they turned over their opponents. That rang true as Iowa had 27 points off turnovers to just two for the Terps. Iowa had eight turnovers to 17 turnovers for Maryland. The Terps also had 10 blocked shots to Iowa’s five.
The Hawkeyes jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first half of this game, marking the 13th time in their last 14 games where they have had a double-digit lead. The 15th game, the double-OT loss at Wisconsin, saw Iowa lead by nine points with six minutes remaining in that contest.
What Iowa was unable to do against Wisconsin, at Nebraska and against Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament, they have done in these NIT games; when teams make runs at them, they don’t get flustered. The Terps closed to within 66-60 with just over two minutes to play, but the Hawkeyes did not wilt as they had done at times during the regular season. Eric May hit a three-point shot that proved to be the dagger at that point.
May is playing the best basketball of his career in his final games. He had 12 points, five assists and four rebounds to no turnovers. McCabe had seven points but they were all big shots. Aaron White had 10 points and nine boards and Adam Woodbury had nine points and three boards.
Iowa has won each of their four NIT games by double-digits. Their record now improves to 25-12, the 25 wins tying the second highest single season total in school history. Iowa’s 2005-2006 team went 25-9 en route to a Big Ten tournament title and the first round exit in the NCAA tournament.
Iowa will play a school record 38th game in one season on Thursday night when they face Baylor for the NIT Championship. It’s Iowa’s first ever time playing for the NIT title and the game will tip off at 8pm.
This team has been growing by leaps and bounds during this NIT run and has been doing so with Mike Gesell playing on one good leg. Dev Marble has now scored at least 21 points in all four of this year’s NIT games and in five of the six NIT games he has played in his career. Matt Gatens scored 106 points over a four-game stretch last year, getting 21, 30, 33 and 22 in that four-piece, one of the best four-game stretches by an Iowa player since the early 1970′s. Marble has 97 points in his last four games is pretty salty and I wonder if his dad Roy ever did that or better in a four-game span in his career.
Marble is just so much more comfortable when he has the ball in his hands most of the time as Iowa’s point guard. I think Mike Gesell is probably the best pure three-point shooter on the team at this point and he can give you good minutes at the two next year and slide over to the one when needed.
Whatever they have Marble doing now, do it all year next year if possible.
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