Red-hot Marble, White dunk Seawolves, advance to NIT quarters
IOWA CITY The stakes are bigger. The crowds are louder. The pressure is higher.
And Roy Devyn Marble is savoring it all.
Pouring in a game-high 28 points, the junior rose to the occasion once again leading Iowa to a 75-63 win over Stony Brook in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament in front of another boisterous sellout crowd inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena Friday.
“When you have support like that, it just brings out the best in players,” Marble said of the electric atmosphere. “That’s what we’re here for. We signed up for the Big Ten and to play in big atmospheres. You’ve got to perform.”
Marble did exactly that, burying a transition 3 and adding a driving layup during Iowa’s critical 11-2 run to give the Hawkeyes their largest lead at 65-54 with 5:43 to play.
The flurry came on the heels off six unanswered points from the Seawolves including a four-point play from Anthony Jackson that pulled them within 56-52.
Stony Brook later trimmed the lead to eight on a layup from Tommy Brenton, before Marble delivered again. This time the Hawks’ leading scorer dished out one of his five assists finding Eric May for a corner 3 before hitting 3-of-4 at the line after Jackson’s jumper had closed the gap to 69-62 with 2:10 left.
“He was phenomenal tonight,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said of Marble, who had averaged 21.3 points in his three previous NIT games. “He handled the ball, got to the free throw line. He really set the tone in a lot of ways.”
One of those ways was sharing the basketball as the Hawkeyes – who’ve won nine of their last 12 – scored 26 field goals on 20 assists. The victory also set a single season school record for home wins at 18.
The third-seeded Hawkeyes (23-12) advance to the quarterfinals and await the winner of fifth-seeded St. John’s (17-15) at top-seeded Virginia (22-11). The Red Storm and Cavaliers tip-off Sunday at 10 a.m. in Charlottesville, Va. The Hawkeyes would host the quarterfinal game, which will be played Wednesday, if St. John’s pulls the upset.
Seventh-seeded Stony Brook (25-8) came in ranking third in the nation in field goal percentage defense (37.2) and 12th in scoring defense (57.0), though they had no answer for Iowa’s offense early.
The Hawkeyes hit seven of their first nine field goals and took a 17-11 lead on Aaron White’s 3-pointer just more than five minutes into the game. Marble picked up right where he left off Wednesday with 10 of the Hawks’ first 12 points and had 16 by halftime.
Though the Hawkeyes couldn’t exactly slow Stony Brook’s attack either.
Stony Brook used a 6-0 run to claim its only lead of the game at 28-25 on Carson Puriefoy’s transition jumper with 5:07 left. Dave Coley paced the Seawolves with 11 first half points including three treys but scored just one point after halftime.
Jameel Warney led Stony Brook with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Jackson tallied 13 of his 15 points after halftime. Aaron White had 13 points and seven boards for Iowa, while Melsahn Basabe has eight points and six rebounds in a starting role.
Both teams shot over 50 percent in the first half and finished over 47 percent in the game, though Iowa outscored the Seawolves 10-1 on second chance points in the second half, while holding a 21-14 advantage on the glass in the final 20 minutes.
Iowa received big contributions off the bench which outscored Stony Brook’s 22-10 – including Mike Gesell, who after reinjuring his right foot in Wednesday’s win over Indiana State, contributed five points, three assists and no turnovers in 19 minutes.
“That’s exactly what we hoped to get,” McCaffery said. “We got a shot maker, a penetrator, an assist guy, no turnovers and solid defense.”
Zach McCabe added eight points, while Gabe Olaseni tallied five and had three of his six boards on the offensive glass including a timely 3-point play to stretch the lead back to double digits with 1:32 remaining. Josh Oglesby’s lone basket was a big one as his 3-pointer in the closing seconds gave Iowa a 37-34 edge at halftime, as nine Hawks scored on the night.
“I watched and kept saying to my assistant coaches, ‘How is this team not in the NCAA tournament?” Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell said. “Coach Fran did a great job. He’s got good players. The future looks really good here at Iowa and it’s disappointing we ended our season this way.”
If it was the final home game for May, it was a perfect way to end it. With the victory in hand, McCaffery subbed out his senior in the final minute to a standing ovation and a big hug from his head coach.
“You can’t say enough about this crowd,” May said of the second straight sellout crowd. “To sell that many tickets in one day or two days is unbelievable. I’ve got a lot of respect for these fans that came out. The energy was there and we gave them something to be energetic about, it’s huge.
If all goes to plan, the Hawks will give their fans one more home thrill next week.
Stony Brook entered Friday with the most true road wins (13) in the nation and earned an automatic bid to the NIT after winning the American East Conference for the third time in four years. … The Seawolves came in 20-0 this season when holding opponents under 60 points and 21-1 when holding foes to under 40 percent shooting. … Wednesday’s sell-out crowd of 15,400 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena more than doubled the next highest attendance for NIT first round games (7,511 for Washington and BYU). … Stony Brook brought a 1-4 all-time record against Big Ten teams, with their lone victory coming against Penn State in 2006 the school’s only victory over a “Power Six” Conference member.