It was a matter of time before Roy Devyn Marble broke out of his slump.
Injured or not, it was time for the Hawks’ best scorer to step it up and help Iowa end a three-game losing streak.
The slump stopped Saturday as Marble scored 21 points and had five boards and five assists in the Hawkeyes’ 71-57 win over Northwestern at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The win for Iowa completes the season sweep of the Wildcats.
The key for him is to shoot open shots, play his game, mix it, jumpers, drives, pull ups, plays for other people,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “He was spectacular today, there's no question about it. That's what he's going to be for the rest of the year, there's no doubt in my mind.”
Iowa also is now 12-2 at home this year and is 23-0 all-time under McCaffery when it holds an opponent to less than 60 points.
”We have as much depth as anybody. Billy doesn't have that kind of depth right now. He's got guys hurt,” McCaffery said. “We were able to keep the pressure on at halfcourt and keep running, then rotate fresh bodies. If you don't have fresh bodies on the floor, you can't guard that offense. If you keep five guys out there and try to guard that for 40 minutes, it's an absolute nightmare.”
Iowa led by just four at the break but used a 9-0 run that spanned the end of the first half and start of the second half to grab control and then slowly pulled away from there. It was tied at 25 when the 9-0 run started.
“I felt offensively we were terrific in the first half,” McCaffery said. “Defensively we had a few breakdowns, we gave up some seconds, but I thought we were great in both halves.”
Iowa eventually pushed the lead to 61-46 with 4:30 to play and led by as many as 19 points in the second half.
Josh Oglesby was the only other Hawkeye in double figures as he finished with 10 points. It was the second time he had reached double-digits this year and both came against the Wildcats.
Melsahn Basabe added eight points, Aaron White had seven points and five boards and both Eric May and Zach McCabe scored six points off the bench. Iowa’s reserves accounted for 27 points on the day.
The Hawkeyes shot 48 percent from the floor and made 19-of-22 from the line. The 36 paint points were a huge advantage, as was the 17 points scored off 12 Northwestern turnovers. Iowa had a season-low one turnover in the first half and finished with 12 for the game.
The Hawkeyes finally closed out a game after coming up a few points short in the last three road games.
“I knew we would play hard. I knew we would play well. I wasn't worried about a letdown,” McCaffery said. “So, I mean, this is something I don't worry about with this group.”
Reggie Hearn led Northwestern (13-11, 4-7) with 13 points but no other Wildcat reached double-figures. Jared Swopshire, Alex Marcutullio and Iowa native Kale Abrahamson all scored eight points.
Iowa (15-9, 4-7) had played four games in 10 days but won’t play again until Thursday when it travels to Penn State for an 8 p.m. tip off.
“I'm not looking at where we are today,” McCaffery said. “I'm looking at we won today, we played better. Kids fought for us. Great performances. On to the next game. I'll look at the win total when the season's over, but not today.”