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Iowa men’s basketball: Second-half burst puts Oglesby on upswing

[ 0 ] February 9, 2013 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Josh Oglesby had been fighting through a slump from 3-point range, but it was a different shooting stat that was yielding friendly reminders from coach Fran McCaffery.

Through 10 games in Big Ten conference play: No free throw attempts.

“Coach keeps saying I need to go to the line more,” Oglesby grinned Saturday after Iowa’s 71-57 win against Northwestern. “So yeah, I knew that.”

He went to the foul line five times Saturday, game No. 11, making four. Like everything else in the sophomore’s game, it’s getting better day by day.

Oglesby scored 10 points Saturday, all in the second half, for his best scoring output since, well, the last time the Hawkeyes played Northwestern. (He scored 14 in a 70-50 win on Jan. 13 in Evanston, Ill.)

Fans may have wondered why he was on the floor during recent stretches. The stats were ugly: 1-for-5; 0-for-0; 0-for-5; 1-for-5 again. Then a pair of 3-for-11s.

Why keep playing him?

“In practice,” teammate Eric May said, “the guy doesn’t miss.”

McCaffery has been gambling on Oglesby’s upside with playing time, and that risk may be starting to pay off. Oglesby lined up two key 3-pointers Saturday that helped break open a tight game.

Iowa’s lead was 40-38 when Oglesby drained a 3 from the baseline. He hit another to cap a 10-0 run that made it 50-38.

Part of the reason Oglesby played 20-plus minutes for the third straight game may come as a surprise to those that view him as a 3-point ringer off the bench.

“Defensively, he might have been our most solid defender, if you break the film down,” McCaffery said. “That’s one of the reasons I stayed with him.

“Defensively, he was spectacular. He also was a tremendous passer. He made a couple great feeds. He doesn’t make mistakes.”

Through 10 Big Ten games, Oglesby was 12-for-55 (21.8 percent) from 3-point range. He was 2-for-5 Saturday. More improvement.

“(McCaffery) thought my confidence was down, obviously. But he stuck with me,” Oglesby said. “That helps to know that he has faith in me even when I was probably in the biggest slump I’ve ever been in.

“The head coach having confidence in you, even when you’re shooting 20-some percent, to keep playing me … that means a lot.”

The coach hasn’t just said he’s confident in Oglesby. He’s backed it up. McCaffery gave Oglesby the last shot in regulation Wednesday at Wisconsin. The 3-point try went in-and-out, and the Hawkeyes eventually fell in double overtime — a microcosm of Oglesby’s (and Iowa’s) season.

Close but not quite.

“In practice, there’s not a crowd. All my shots in games have felt good,” the Cedar Rapids Washington product said. “I’m shooting good shots. It’s just in-and-out. Today, my shot felt good.”

Maybe things are turning around for Oglesby. And the Hawkeyes.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

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