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Marble hopes to bounce back

John Bohnenkamp, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa –

IOWA CITY – Devyn Marble admitted his hand was a little “tingly.”

But the Iowa sophomore guard said the injury he sustained to his elbow in Saturday’s loss to Northwestern had nothing to do with the way he played in the game.

Marble had four turnovers and didn’t have an assist in the 70-66 loss.

Marble struggled against Northwestern’s 1-3-1 zone defense – then again, most of the Hawkeyes did – and he admitted he could have done a better job of taking care of the ball.

“It kind of hurt us,” Marble said. “They weren’t aggressive mistakes. With those, at least you’re trying to make a play, make something happen. It really hurt the team.”

Marble was hit on the elbow early in the game, and said afterwards that he didn’t have any feeling in his left hand. But Marble said that didn’t affect how he shot or passed the ball.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery wants Marble to get back to being an aggressive player, like he was early in the season when he was a difficult matchup for opposing defenders.

“The last two games he’s been tentative the first half of both games,” McCaffery said. “I was a little curious about that, because it’s just not who he is. I talked to him about it on Sunday at length, because I just want him to be Devyn Marble. Just attack, put your head down sometimes and shoot the ball without thinking, ‘Is Coach going to yell at me if this doesn’t go in?’ I never say anything to him if he shoots the ball. I want him to go shoot the ball, attack the rim.”

“He just told me to be aggressive, and I know I have to play that way,” Marble said.

McCaffery said Marble tries to be “too perfect.”

“As we all know, this is a not a game of perfect, so you’ve just got to go make plays,” McCaffery said. “If you turn it over, run back and guard your man. If you miss a shot, run back, make sure they don’t score.

“I think he could be a really good defender. The reality is ultimately he was to get paid one day to play this game, and they’re not going to pay him if he doesn’t guard people. That’s what I’ve told him.”

Marble knows defense will be the key when the Hawkeyes play Illinois in Thursday’s first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

“Obviously we have to defend them better than we did (in a 65-54 loss on Feb. 25),” Marble said. “That’s going to fall on me, and on all of us.”

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