EVANSTON, Ill. — Iowa sophomore guard Josh Oglesby accomplished three things Sunday at the expense of Northwestern.
He broke out of a shooting slump by making all four of Iowa’s 3-point baskets in the game, with each coming in the second half.
He helped lift his team to a 70-50 victory before an announced crowd of 6,805 at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
And he gained some revenge against the Wildcats because it was Oglesby who missed a 3-point shot in the closing seconds of a 70-66 loss to Northwestern late last season at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa was trailing Northwestern by two points when Oglesby missed his trey last season.
“Yeah, a little revenge,” I guess,” Oglesby said when reminded after Sunday’s game about what happened the last time Iowa faced Northwestern.
Iowa improved to 12-5 overall and 1-3 in the Big Ten with the victory and now has nearly a week to prepare for its game against Wisconsin on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Northwestern fell to 10-7 overall and 1-3 in the conference.
The Hawkeyes lost their first two Big Ten games at home to No. 5 Indiana and No. 22 Michigan State by a combined seven points. And squeezed in between those losses was a 95-67 drubbing at No. 2 Michigan on Jan. 6.
“We say it all the time, but anytime you can get a win on the road in this league, it’s a special thing because it’s so hard,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “And for us, there had been a couple of gut-wrenching losses and getting our clocks cleaned at Michigan. It’s just a great feeling to go on the road and get a win against a really good team.”
McCaffery also ended a slump against Northwestern, with Sunday’s victory being his first against the Wildcats in five games as the Iowa coach.
McCaffery said he wasn’t surprised that Oglesby got hot from 3-point range in the second half because he watches Oglesby drain treys on a regular basis in practice.
McCaffery also has stressed to Oglesby to keep shooting because McCaffery figured it would eventually pay dividends.
It finally did Sunday and in a game that Iowa desperately needed to win.
“He’s been killing it in practice,” McCaffery said of Oglesby, a 6-foot-4 native of Cedar Rapids. “We’re going to keep going to him and he knows we’re going to keep to going to him. I keep encouraging him to shoot.”
Oglesby said it helps knowing that his coaches and teammates want him to keep shooting even when his shots aren’t falling.
“They’ve been saying that to me ever since I got here, just to keep shooting,” said Oglesby, who finished with a season-high 14 points Sunday. “And my teammates found me today.”
Iowa closed the first half with a 14-4 scoring and led 25-15 at the break. Iowa only made 10-of-28 field-goal attempts in the first half, but Northwestern shot even worse, converting just 5-of-24 shots in the first half.
In fact, Northwestern only had one more basket in the first half than Iowa had dunks in the first half.
Iowa led by as many as 27 points in the second half and also had a 40-22 advantage in bench scoring. Iowa’s reserves also outscored the starters 31-28 in the loss to Michigan State on Thursday.
Sophomore forward Aaron White led Iowa with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field. Junior forward Melsahn Basabe also performed well off the bench for the second consecutive game, scoring 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field.
“I think tonight was big because we played consistently on both ends of the floor,” White said. “We really locked in on defense and really took them out of their stuff.
“And then offensively we stayed with it. Usually, when we’re not playing offense well we give in on the defensive end, too. But today our shots weren’t falling early, but we were still staying with them defensively.”
The 6-7 Basabe has combined to make 10-of-11 field-goal attempts in the last two games. He credits his success partly to being healthy after being hobbled by injuries to both ankles.
“When I wasn’t at full strength, it kind of made me think,” Basabe said. “I had never felt like that. I had never been hurt.
“So it was exciting to have my feet under me.”
Junior swingman Devyn Marble led Iowa with eight points in the first half, but was held scoreless in the second half. Marble started Sunday’s game and played 30 minutes after missing Thursday’s 62-59 loss to Michigan State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena because of an ankle injury.
“I was moving definitely better than I thought I was going to be able to,” Marble said. “Down the stretch of the game it started to get a little sore. But you had to think that would tend to happen because of the intensity and the level of competition.”
As for Oglesby, he’s just happy that his persistence and dedication finally produced some positive results.
“It’s (semester) break now, so we don’t have classes and I’ve been in the gym shooting and getting a lot of extra shots in after practice,” Oglesby said. “And today it paid off.”
“It feels good. I was in a slump for a while and I couldn’t make anything. I was kind of getting down on myself.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball