Iowa rolls behind Marble's 22 tallies

RUSTY MILLERAP Sports Writer Published:

COLUMBUS (AP) -- There's an invisible line that a good team must cross to become a national or even conference contender.

Iowa climbed over that mental barrier on Sunday.

Roy Devin Marble scored 22 points, Aaron White added 19 and the 20th-ranked Hawkeyes ended the game on a 22-9 run to hand No. 3 Ohio State its second loss of the week, 84-74.

It was a watershed game for a program that has fallen short in big games continually over the past several years.

"This is the biggest one," said Marble, a senior who has been on the front line of the Hawkeyes' fits and starts lately. "It's the most important one. Now, to have done this, this is the biggest one -- thus far."

They did it by playing their best when they have frequently buckled -- with the game on the line in the closing minutes. Three times this season they had top 10 teams down by double digits but couldn't close the deal.

Not this time.

"We've proven all year long that we're one of the top teams," said White, who stuck it to the biggest powerhouse in his home state. "This finally puts it on our resume to signify that. We've been up on teams that are highly ranked, but we've lost those games down the stretch by not making key plays. I'm really happy, because that's all we've been stressing, the 40-minute game and playing to win. And that's what we did."

Melsahn Besabe had 11 points and 10 rebounds, Mike Gesell added 11 points and Jarrod Uthoff had 10 off the bench for the Hawkeyes (14-3, 3-1 Big Ten), who ended a string of eight straight losses to the Buckeyes.

They did it on coach Fran McCaffery's return to the sideline. He had been suspended by the Big Ten for one game after angrily confronting the officials at last Sunday's 75-71 loss at No. 4 Wisconsin. He sat out Thursday night's 93-67 rout of Northwestern, with assistant Kirk Speraw filling in for him.

"What's interesting about that, the way our guys handled that whole thing, was incredibly businesslike," McCaffery said. "They were just like, 'Here we go. Business as usual.'"

How big was the win? It erased several ugly marks the Hawkeyes had been carrying around for years.

It was Iowa's first win over a top 5 team since an 83-65 victory at No. 2 Missouri on Dec. 15, 2001.

Iowa was 0-2 on opponents' home courts this season coming in. Their three losses have come against teams with a combined 45-2 record (Villanova, Iowa State and Wisconsin) -- with each loss coming by five or fewer points.

The Hawkeyes had not beaten Ohio State -- one of the Big Ten's bullies since Thad Matta came aboard a decade ago -- since 2008. They hadn't beaten the Buckeyes in Columbus since 2004, making a long, quiet flight home on the last seven trips.

The Buckeyes (15-2, 2-2) grabbed a 53-44 lead on Amedeo Della Valle's 3 from the left corner with 12:49 left.

This was when Iowa had made it a habit of backing down and taking the loss.

Instead, the Hawkeyes found another gear.

They scored 11 of the next 13 points, with Gesell's 3 from the top of the key tying it at 55 with 10:25 remaining.

Down 65-62 with less than 6 minutes left, again the Hawkeyes refused to fold.

A free throw by Uthoff and another by Marble cut the lead to a point before Uthoff scored consecutive baskets, both on layups. The first, at the 4:55 mark, put the Hawkeyes up 66-65.

Ohio State suddenly couldn't do much right. The Buckeyes, who had 17 turnovers for the game and five during 11 possessions near the finish, gave up repeated shots when the Hawkeyes snagged offensive rebounds, and at the other end they had difficulty even hanging on to the ball.

Marble stole the ball from LaQuinton Ross, who led the Buckeyes with 22 points, before Uthoff's second layup. Then Ross was called for a travel under pressure.

Marble was fouled in the backcourt and hit both shots for a 70-65 Iowa lead with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

The Hawkeyes led by four when White -- with 40 friends and family members making the two-hour drive from suburban Cleveland to root him on -- had the ball tipped away. He recovered it beyond midcourt, and then drove to hit a 12-foot fallaway as the shot clock was running down with 2:06 left.

That made it 74-68 and Ohio State never made a serious threat again.

"That might be one of the bigger plays of the game, because of the momentum that would have shifted if I hadn't gotten the ball back and made the layup," White said.

Ohio State came into the week with 15 consecutive wins and high hopes. Then they made a furious comeback at No. 5 Michigan State before losing 72-68 in overtime.

Then it was the Buckeyes, and not the Hawkeyes, who had no answers in the final minutes.

"The biggest thing is getting our guys to understand, you can't let one mistake compound into another mistake," Matta said. "That's kind of what happened to us today."

No. 1 ARIZONA 73, USC 53

LOS ANGELES -- Brandon Ashley and T.J. McConnell each scored a season-high 19 points and No. 1 Arizona beat USC 73-53 to improve to 17-0 for the best start in school history.

Nick Johnson chipped in 15 points and Aaron Gordon had 12 for the Wildcats, the second straight game they've had four players reach double figures in scoring.

The 1931-32 Wildcats held the previous school record for best start at 16-0.

Byron Wesley scored 18 points and reserve Strahinja Gavrilovic added a career-high 10 points to lead the Trojans, who have lost three straight and four of their last six.

Arizona led just 48-43 with 8:30 to play, but outscored USC 25-10 the rest of the way to turn the close game into a rout.

No. 12 LOUISVILLE 71, SMU 63

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Luke Hancock had a career-high 23 points, including two free throws with 46 seconds remaining, for Louisville in a meeting of Hall of Fame coaches.

Hancock's second straight 20-point game helped Rick Pitino's Cardinals (14-3, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) get the final word in his first collegiate matchup against Larry Brown and his Mustangs (11-4, 1-2).

No. 13 SAN DIEGO ST. 79, AIR FORCE 72

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- JJ O'Brien had 18 points and 11 rebounds as San Diego State extended its winning streak to 13 games.

It is the second-longest winning streak in school history for the Aztecs (14-1, 3-0 Mountain West) and it continues their second-best start ever behind 20-0 in 2010-11.

WASHINGTON 71, No. 15 COLORADO 54

SEATTLE -- C.J. Wilcox set career highs with seven 3-pointers and 31 points, including 21 in the second half, for Washington.

Washington (11-6, 3-1 Pac-12) had lost 12 straight against ranked teams.

Colorado (14-3, 3-1) never recovered after leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie crumbled to the court late in the first half after his left knee buckled while dribbling on a fast break. Dinwiddie had to be helped to the locker room by teammates and did not return.

STANFORD 82, No. 17 OREGON 80

EUGENE, Ore. -- Anthony Brown scored a career-high 24 points and Stanford held on to send Oregon to its third straight loss.

Chasson Randle had 23 points for the Cardinal (10-5, 1-2 Pac-12), who beat their second ranked team this season, something they hadn't accomplished since 2009.

Mike Moser scored 24 points to lead the Ducks (13-3, 1-3), who had two chances to tie the game in the final 8 seconds but Johnathan Loyd missed an open jumper and Dominic Artis had a last-ditch layup roll off the rim as time expired.

NORTHWESTERRN 49, No. 23 ILLINOIS 43

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Tre Demps scored 11 points and made three late 3-pointers to lead Northwestern to the upset of in-state rival Illinois.

Drew Crawford added 14 points and JerShon Cobb had 11 for Northwestern (8-9, 1-3 Big Ten), which gave coach Chris Collins his first conference victory.

Tracy Abrams had 13 and Rayvonte Rice had eight for the Fighting Illini (13-4, 2-2), who have lost two straight after four consecutive wins.

BIG TEN

PURDUE 70, NEBRASKA 64

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A.J. Hammons scored 18 points to lead the Purdue to a 70-64 win over Nebraska.

Ronnie Johnson added 14 points for the Boilermakers (11-5, 1-2 Big Ten), who picked up their first league win. Purdue made 24 of 52 shots, including 5 of 13 shots from behind the arc.

MAC

AKRON 83, OHIO 80

ATHENS -- Quincy Diggs scored 20 points, including the final basket in both overtime sessions, as Akron beat Ohio 83-80 on Sunday night.

Diggs scored nine points during the extra time for Akron (10-5, 2-0 MAC).

Diggs made the deciding basket of the game with 34 seconds left. Ohio's Stevie Taylor then missed a 3-pointer, but Akron's Nyles Evans missed both free throws with 14 seconds left giving Ohio a final chance. Ohio (11-4, 1-1) got two 3-pointers off in the final 10 seconds, but Nick Kellogg missed them both.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS 45, BOWLING GREEN 36

BOWLING GREEN -- Aksel Bolin hit a key 3-pointer and Travon Baker scored six of his 13 points down the stretch to lift Northern Illinois over Bowling Green 45-36.

Bolin's 3-pointer gave Northern Illinois a 37-35 lead with 3:01 remaining. Baker then made a layup, hit a 3-pointer, and scored on one of two free throws to give the Huskies a 43-36 lead with 36 seconds to play. A Darrell Bowie dunk capped the scoring for Northern Illinois.

OHIO COLLEGES

CREIGHTON 95, XAVIER 89

OMAHA, Neb. -- Doug McDermott scored 35 points with his sprained left shoulder, and Creighton held off Xavier 95-89 Sunday to move into a tie for first place in the Big East.

Ethan Wragge added 15 points on five 3-pointers, including three in a row to help the Bluejays add to a four-point halftime lead. Devin Brooks added 14 points as the Bluejays (14-2, 4-0) won their ninth straight game.

WRIGHT STATE 58, UIC 53

DAYTON -- A.J. Pacher scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Reggie Arceneaux hit a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left, as Wright State topped Illinois-Chicago 58-53.

Wright State (11-8, 3-1 Horizon League) trailed 53-49 with 4:43 to play after Kelsey Barlow, who paced UIC with 19 points, hit a pair of free throws. Arceneaux answered with a 3-pointer which sparked a 9-0 run to close the game for the Raiders.

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