IOWA CITY — Twice the Iowa men’s basketball team blew seven-point leads Thursday night against Boise State.
Instead of buckling under pressure, the Hawkeyes bucked up. Iowa committed a season-low five turnovers and kept the pressure on Boise State’s offense in an 81-72 win in the Hawkeyes’ non-conference finale.
Iowa (8-5) committed only one turnover after halftime in the Hawkeyes’ third straight win.
“We have a bunch of guys who don’t turn the ball over,” Iowa point guard Devyn Marble said. “I know I had a turnover today that was uncharacteristic. I was killing myself over it.
“They played pressure defense, too, and they played off of turnovers. They’re expected to turn teams over and they weren’t able to do that to us today, and I think that’s what helped us get the W.”
Marble had only one turnover — to go along with his five assists, 18 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and three steals. It was another stellar performance for the sophomore, who took over the point as a full-timer eight games into the season. It also was against an opponent that concerned Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery entering the game.
“As I looked at this game part of me said, ‘I don’t need Boise State in my life right now,’” McCaffery said. “We’re trying to get some confidence. But the reality is that’s sort of exactly what we needed.
“We needed a test (Thursday night). We needed somebody to come in here, you hit them, they hit you back. You hit them, they hit you back. That’s what our league is night in and night out. We had to gut one out.”
With the score tied 57-57 and 7 minutes, 8 seconds left in the game, Iowa went on an 8-0 run spanning 2:02. Aaron White, who scored 18 points off the bench, hit a pair of free throws to put Iowa up by two points. One possession later, Iowa freshman Josh Oglesby drilled a 3-pointer. Marble hit one of two free throws but followed with perhaps the game’s best play on defense.
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Boise State’s Derrick Marks took the ball to the hole, but Iowa sophomore Melsahn Basabe blocked Marks’ shot against the glass. Marble snagged the rebound, tossed it down the court, and Matt Gatens laid it off the glass to go up 65-57.
Basabe scored in double digits for the fourth straight game, totaling 14 points. He also grabbed 11 rebounds, earning his third double-double of the season.
Basabe has regained some of the quickness he lost earlier in the season when he weighed 235 pounds, about 25 more than last year. Basabe since has lost 11 pounds and looks sleeker and more active on the court.
“I feel good and when you feel good you do well,” Basabe said. “I knew it would come around. I wasn’t worried.
“I knew it was a little rough stretch but rough stretches happen. A lot of people were panicking and thought I was just in a graveyard and it was going to carry over. I could still wake up and still smile. I knew I was going to come out of it.”
After playing three games in six days — all wins — Iowa now has five days before its Big Ten opener next Wednesday against Purdue.
BOISE ST. (9-4)
Bropleh 4-12 3-4 12, Wiley 3-4 0-0 9, Watkins 1-5 0-0 2, Elorriaga 3-5 0-0 7, Perryman 1-6 0-2 3, Marks 7-13 2-4 17, Hanstad 0-0 0-0 0, Nichols 1-5 0-0 3, Crayton 0-0 1-2 1, Buckner 9-12 0-0 18. Totals 29-62 6-12 72.
Basabe 6-9 2-3 14, McCabe 1-3 0-0 2, May 1-6 0-0 3, Marble 5-10 8-10 18, Gatens 5-11 5-5 16, Oglesby 2-4 3-4 9, Brommer 0-0 0-0 0, Cartwright 0-3 1-2 1, White 6-8 6-7 18. Totals 26-54 25-31 81.
Halftime_Tied 33-33. 3-Point Goals_Boise St. 8-18 (Wiley 3-4, Marks 1-1, Nichols 1-3, Perryman 1-3, Elorriaga 1-3, Bropleh 1-4), Iowa 4-12 (Oglesby 2-4, May 1-2, Gatens 1-4, White 0-1, Cartwright 0-1). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Boise St. 34 (Bropleh, Elorriaga 6), Iowa 35 (Basabe 11). Assists_Boise St. 13 (Perryman 4), Iowa 14 (Marble 5). Total Fouls_Boise St. 22, Iowa 11. A_13,122.