IOWA CITY — The trick for Iowa in the aftermath of Saturday’s 29-point blowout to Ohio State was keeping its bruised confidence from becoming shattered.
There were few positives for the 10-7 Hawkeyes, who fall to 2-2 in Big Ten play. For the first time in two seasons the team didn’t have a double-digit scorer in a game. Iowa had its second-worst shooting percentage this season, hitting 32.1 percent (Iowa shot 28.6 percent against Clemson). It was a thorough beating to the No. 6 Buckeyes, but for sophomore point guard Devyn Marble, the performance is put to rest, especially with No. 10 Michigan State (14-2, 3-0) on deck Tuesday.
“That’s a good thing about college basketball, too; you don’t have too much time to dwell on games,” Marble said. “I think that’s a good thing for a team when you lose because you can just go out there and play another one.
“You’ve got to watch film and break that down and see and correct your mistakes in the game so you don’t make the same in the next game. But other than that, mentally that game is done with now, so you’ve got to go on to the next one.”
Iowa has an unusual distinction through four Big Ten games, winning two on the road and losing two at home. The wins at then-No. 11 Wisconsin followed by an upset at Minnesota has teams like Ohio State focused on Iowa, rather than looking past the Hawkeyes.
“I don’t think we’re sneaking up on anybody anymore,” Iowa senior Matt Gatens said. “I think we got (Ohio State’s) best shot. I think they respected us coming in here, and they took us serious (and) were locked in.”
“We knew they were going to be dialed in on us,” Marble said. “Regardless of if we would have lost (on the road), I think (Ohio State) would have anyway. That’s what makes them such a good team because they are able to stay focused even when they’re playing somebody they feel like they’re more talented than or more athletic than and that’s just a sign of how well-coached they are. We’ve just got to come out with more intensity and focus in the next game.”
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery took a positive approach in the locker room after the loss. He told the players afterward to “learn from it, grow, affect change” without pointing fingers at one another.
“You have to look in the mirror and say, ‘OK, what could I have done better,’ and that’s it, and I being me,” McCaffery said. “And whatever player is watching this tape, say, ‘OK, it’s one game, it’s in the past, and now we have got to go on to the next one,’ and come up with another game plan and go out there and play with the level of intensity that we did the previous two games.”
McCaffery’s message resonated with the players.
“He’s usually great in tough losses like this,” Gatens said. “He wanted us to stay positive. He’s not going to come in there and scream at us, but he’s staying positive and learn from it. It wasn’t our day but we’ll learn from it, we’ll watch some film and go get one Tuesday.”