(Joshua Housing/The Daily Iowan)
Aaron White led the Hawkeyes with a double-double in just the second contest of all time where both Iowa and Iowa State were ranked.
By Ben Ross
AMES — The No. 23 ranked Iowa men’s basketball team found itself up 82-81 to No. 17 Iowa State with just 42 seconds remaining. Iowa State guard Melvin Ejim fouled the hot-handed Devyn Marble, and gave Iowa a chance to go up by three with the free look. With 35 seconds left, Marble missed the front end of the 1-1, and Dustin Hogue got the rebound. Georges Niang hit a jumper with 18 ticks remaining, and Iowa State saw a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Monte Morris gave the Hawkeyes one last opportunity, fouling Mike Gesell, but the career 70 percent free-throw shooter missed both his strokes from the free-throw line. The Cyclones led 85-82 with 12 seconds left. Zach McCabe had a good look from three-point range at the end, but the rock toilet bowled out of the rim, and Iowa State held on to stay undefeated on the season. Iowa was 1-6 from the charity stripe with 90 seconds remaining in the game.
“I missed two crucial free throws I usually make,” Gesell said.
Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery chose his words carefully after the game. He said he sympathized with Gesell and Marble, but also mentioned there was a reason why those two were put in position to shoot free throws towards the end of the game.
“Those are the guys I would have picked,” McCaffery said of Gesell and Marble. “I know they feel terrible right now. I feel for them. If I could pick who I’d want, I’d want those two guys, that’s why they were in that position. I feel bad for both of them.
“If you would have said we out-rebounded them 49-35 I would have said we won the game. And hold them to six offensive rebounds, we win the game. We fought, and I’m proud of our guys.”
The Hawkeyes stayed in front of their hosts for the majority of the game, out-rebounding Iowa State and having an answer for every run the Cyclones were able to muster in a contest that featured six lead changes. Iowa was led by the play of junior forward Aaron White, who netted 25 points and 17 rebounds.
Despite his outstanding performance, White became frustrated when the question that his play was overshadowed by the loss was brought up to him.
“Yeah, come on. It doesn’t matter, that doesn’t matter to me,” White said. “I hate losing, whether it’s in a tight game like this or in a game where we flat out got outplayed. I hate losing. It stings just like all the other ones.”
Iowa didn’t really have an answer for the Cyclone’s most prolific players; Ejim and Georges Niang. Ejim netted 22 while Niang scored 24. Naz Long was also a headache for Iowa, hitting three 3-pointers, his last one to put the Cyclones within 2 points with less than 10 minutes to go.
(Joshua Housing/The Daily Iowan)
Fouls also played a large role in the contest, with Iowa getting in the wrong end of the double bonus early on in both halves. The Hawkeyes committed 27 team fouls compared to Iowa State’s 20, and the Cyclones benefited from each mistake besought by the Black and Gold. With a minute 16 remaining, Iowa Center Adam Woodbury committed his fifth foul of the night. Iowa State went on a 9-0 run from there, and the Hawkeyes wouldn’t score again. Woodbury ended the night with 5 points and 11 rebounds.
Whichever way you cut it, this one is going to sting for Iowa and its players for awhile. Hawkeye forward Jarrod Uthoff said normally losses don’t get to him, but this one was different. It is Iowa State, after all, in arguably the biggest matchup between the two schools in their playing history.
“A loss is a loss, but this is a tough one because we were up with a minute to go. It makes it pretty hard,” Uthoff said.