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Iowa men's basketball: Josh Oglesby, Hawkeyes longing for long-range answers

[ 0 ] January 29, 2013 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Josh Oglesby is a shooter without a shooter’s mentality.

Instead of taking the “can’t make a shot I don’t take” approach, early misses leave Oglesby reluctant to pull the trigger.

“I feel like I do get a little cautious after misses,” Iowa’s sophomore guard said. “I feel like I’m aiming my shot after I miss the first couple. I feel like I need to be perfect with the release.”

Oglesby has struggled from the perimeter this season. Heading into Thursday’s home game with Penn State, Oglesby is shooting just 29.4 percent from 3-point range this season. That’s down from 37.2 percent last season.

Considered Iowa’s best outside threat, Oglesby has made only 6-of-26 attempts from 3 in Big Ten games. He shoots so well in practice that coaches can only shake their heads.

Asked where Oglesby’s confidence level was at, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said, “I don’t know. He makes every shot in practice, every one. It’s a little bit different when they are guarding you the way teams have guarded him.”

Oglesby’s shooting woes aren’t unique to this team. The Hawkeyes are shooting just 30.3 percent from 3 for the season and only 27.2 percent in Big Ten play. That’s one of the reasons why Iowa takes a 2-5 league mark into play Thursday, with three losses by four points or less or in overtime.

Since the 3-point line came to college basketball for good in 1986-87, the Hawkeyes have had 12 teams make the NCAA field. None of them have shot under 30 percent from 3 in league play. That’s the predicament the Hawkeyes (13-7) are in as they try and reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.

“It’s frustrating, because the guys have really battled for us,” McCaffery said. “We are in a position to win all these games. We win some of those, and we’re probably ranked. It’s just a couple of missed shots. If there’s a bigger gap, that’s one thing. We’ve closed the gap, there’s no question about that. And now you want to see them enjoy the fruits of all that hard work.”

Iowa was 18-17 last season, but won four out of seven games against Top 25 teams. Matt Gatens was a big reason why, shooting 41.0 percent from 3 in all games and 48 percent against

Big Ten foes.

With Gatens gone, Oglesby was expected to be the guy to shoot the lights out. He made four 3-pointers at Northwe

stern in nine attempts. He’s 2-for-17 in the other six Big Ten games.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a slump this bad,” Oglesby said. “I’ve gone through games where I haven’t made any shots. It’s just frustrating that I haven’t shot the ball well. I just have to stay confident and patient.”

Oglesby and Mike Gesell come in and do extra shooting drills every day before practice. Oglesby also comes in on his own and gets shots up.

“In practice I feel like I’ve been shooting the ball really well,” Oglesby said. “And with confidence. But in games, the first couple I shoot feel good and they don’t go in. Then I don’t have as much confidence.”

Oglesby’s four 3-pointers, all in the second half, helped put the dagger in Northwestern on the road. Now he’s looking for that same feeling.

“Hopefully I can get back on track,” Oglesby said.

ARCTIC FROM BEYOND THE ARC

Iowa and Penn State meet Thursday in Iowa City. They are the only Big Ten teams to score more points from the free-throw line than behind the 3-point line in conference play (through Monday):

Team 3PM (pts.) FTM
N’western 55 (165) 107
Michigan 54 (162) 85
Minnesota 47 (141) 94
Wisconsin 47 (141) 54
Indiana 46 (138) 134
Mich. St. 45 (135) 99
Illinois 39 (117) 87
Ohio St. 38 (114) 107
Nebraska 34 (102) 73
Purdue 33 (99) 65
Iowa 31 (93) 99
Penn St. 30 (90) 92
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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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