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Oglesby hits ground running as Hawkeyes glide past Arkansas-Pine Bluff

[ 0 ] December 22, 2013 |

IOWA CITY, Ia.  Josh Oglesby said hello Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and veteran official Ed Hightower said goodbye.

Oglesby, who missed Iowa’s first 12 games after breaking a bone in his right foot on Nov. 6, made his first four 3-point attempts in Sunday’s 86-61 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff before an announced sellout crowd of 15,400 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I felt really good,” said Oglesby, who finished 4-for-5 from 3. “It’s always good to knock down your first shot.”

Sunday’s game was also the swan song for Hightower, 62, who is retiring after a 36-year officiating career. Hightower was presented a basketball by Iowa coach Fran McCaffery before the game.

“He (McCaffery) said, ‘Hightower, in the second half, I just may get a technical,’” an emotional Hightower, fighting back tears, said in the officials’ locker room afterward. “And I said, ‘If you do, I’m throwing you out.’”

Hightower said he’ll still watch games on television.

“I will be a fan and I may even criticize the referees,” Hightower said. “Why not? I’m a fan now.”

Hightower, who will remain superintendent of schools in Edwardsville, Ill., spent 32 seasons in the Big Ten. He joked that fans at every one of those schools thought he was against their team. He took that as a compliment.

“I want to be remembered as someone who gave something to the game, tried to make the game better, and always kept education as a priority as I worked with young people throughout my 36 years in NCAA basketball,” Hightower said.

Hightower also praised McCaffery for the job he’s done at Iowa.

“A lot of great, great memories of this league, coming to Iowa City over the years, and I’m sure with Frannie here, you’re going to return to the glory days,” Hightower said.

Box score: Iowa 86, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 61

Getting a team-high 16 points from Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa closed out the nonconference schedule at 11-2. The losses were an 88-83 overtime setback to No. 7 Villanova in the Bahamas and an 85-82 defeat at No. 17 Iowa State.

The addition of Oglesby gives McCaffery another weapon.

“He was winded a little bit, but not too bad,” McCaffery said. “We started practicing him hard this week, to get his timing back, and I thought he was really good. Not only did he make shots, he was passing it well. He looked very comfortable out there.”

McCaffery put Oglesby in for the first time with 15 minutes, 48 seconds remaining in the first half. Oglesby made his first 3 a minute later, and had four in just 6 minutes. When he came out, with 9:24 to go, teammate Darius Stokes greeted him with a bow.

Oglesby made a total of four 3-pointers in Iowa’s final five games last season, and made more than one just once in the last 14 games. His 3-point shooting percentage fell to .269 after shooting .372 as a freshman. Asked the last time he had made four straight 3s to start a game, Oglesby said, “Obviously, not here.”

He’s worked with Iowa’s coaches to get his shot off quicker, something the staff did with Matt Gatens before his senior season in 2011-12.

“Coach keeps telling me to keep shooting and stop hesitating, and the next one will go in,” Oglesby said. “I’ve been trying to do that.”

Iowa took a 52-15 halftime lead on a squad that didn’t arrive in town until 3:30 a.m. Sunday because of travel issues. McCaffery didn’t play starters Mike Gesell, Aaron White and Devyn Marble the second half.

The Hawkeyes open Big Ten play at home against Nebraska on New Year’s Eve.

“We’re 11-2, and it wasn’t easy to get there,” McCaffery said. “And we know what these next 18 games are. Every one.”

 

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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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