NIT title run falls one game short
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It was the most inopportune time for the University of Iowa men's basketball team to have an off shooting night.
The Hawkeyes tied a season low with a 26.1 field goal percentage (18-of-69) in a 74-54 loss to Baylor Thursday, April 4, in the championship game of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in Madison Square Garden.
After trailing 27-22 at the half, senior Eric May scored five of the first six points of the second half to cut the Bears’ lead to 28-27. Baylor followed with an 11-2 spurt to build a 39-29 advantage with 14:47 remaining.
"We go into halftime, and we're only down five, and I don't think we played well at all," says UI head coach Fran McCaffery. "We cut it to one, but it felt like we kept missing easy shots.
"The stat that jumps out to me is we had 20 offensive rebounds against this team. That's effort and special. That should have equated to more success offensively. Instead we shot 27 percent in the second half and didn't have the attention to detail."
Freshman Mike Gesell's three-point play with 12:32 remaining cut the deficit to single digits at 42-34, but the Bears broke the game open with a 16-3 run to open a 58-37 lead with 7:08 remaining.
Baylor shot 54.2 percent (26-of-48) from the floor. Iowa attempted 21 more shots, but made eight fewer field goals. The Bears had a 36-18 advantage in paint points and a 14-4 edge in points off turnovers.
"Baylor got up into us and their length bothered us at the rim," McCaffery says. "It forced us to settle for too many jump shots. We're more of a driving team, and we get to the free throw line more typically, and we just didn't do that tonight."
Gesell paced the Hawkeyes, scoring 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Sophomore Aaron White finished with 12 points and six rebounds, and May had eight points, making 3-of-9 field goals before fouling out in his final collegiate game.
Iowa's leading scorer, Roy Devyn Marble, finished with six points on 3-of-12 shooting, 18 points below his season NIT scoring average. Marble was selected to the NIT All-Tournament team after scoring 103 points (20.3 average) in five games.
Forward Cory Jefferson led a trio of Bears in double digits, netting 23 points. Senior guard Pierre Jackson scored 17 points and had 10 assists; freshman Isaiah Austin scored 15 points.
The Hawkeyes finish the 2012-13 season with a 25-13 record, the second most victories in school history.
The road to the title game
Iowa 68, Indiana State 52: Iowa advanced to the second round of the NIT for the second consecutive year with a 68-52 win over Indiana State in front of a sellout Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd. Iowa trailed by as many as eight in the first half, but rallied and dominated the second half.
Roy Devyn Marble led Iowa in scoring with a game-high 24 points. Marble also added six assists, five rebounds and tied his career high with four steals.
Aaron White posted his fourth double-double of the season and eighth of his career. He had a career-high 13 rebounds to go along with 11 points. The 13 boards are the most by an Iowa player in its 12 NIT games. It marked White's second double-double in an NIT game; White registered 25 points and 11 boards vs. Dayton a year ago in the first round.
Iowa 75, Stony Brook 63: Iowa beat Stony Brook, 75-63, on March 22 in Iowa City, advancing to the NIT quarterfinals for the first time since 1995.
Roy Devyn Marble scored a game-high 28 points, the third-highest point output in his career. Marble has 11 career 20+ scoring games, and has led Iowa in scoring 15 times this year. Aaron White netted 13 points and grabbed a game-high seven boards to go along with two blocks and two assists.
Iowa held the America East Player of the Year, Tommy Brenton, to five points, five rebounds and four assists.
Iowa set the school single-season record for home victories in a season (18) with the victory.
Iowa 75, Virginia 64: Iowa advances to the NIT semifinals for the first time in school history with a 75-64 triumph at Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. The win snapped the Cavaliers' 19-game home win streak, which was the fourth-longest active streak in the nation.
Iowa is only the third team to score 70-plus points against Virginia this season.
Roy Devyn Marble netted a game-high 24 points. Adam Woodbury went 5-of-7 from the field to score in double-figures (10). Zach McCabe also scored 10 points, hitting 2-of-3 from long distance.
Iowa was perfect from the free throw line, making all 15 attempts. The Hawkeyes made all 14 of their free throw attempts in the final 3:09 of the contest.
Iowa 71, Maryland 60: Iowa led by as many as 14 points in the first half en route to a 71-60 triumph over Maryland in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City on April 2. The win was Iowa's 25th game of the season, equaling the second-most in program history.
Roy Devyn Marble scored 21 points, leading the team in scoring for the fourth consecutive game. The junior also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. He tallied his 11th game of the year with at least 20 points, and 13th of his career.
Senior Eric May posted 12 points, five assists and game bests in assists (5) and steals (3). May has averaged 3.5 assists in the four NIT games. Aaron White netted eight of his 10 points from the free throw line (8-of-10). The sophomore also snagged eight boards.
Iowa forced 17 Maryland turnovers and converted those miscues into 27 points. The Terrapins only tallied two points off eight Hawkeye turnovers.