DAYTON, Ohio It took Iowa’s basketball program eight seasons to get back to the NCAA Tournament. And 45 minutes to say goodbye. In gut-wrenching fashion.
Tennessee ended Iowa’s season with a 78-65 overtime triumph in a first-round NCAA game at Dayton Arena on Wednesday night. The Volunteers never led by more than two points in regulation. In fact, they held the lead for just 58 seconds of regulation.
Then they outscored the Hawkeyes in the extra session, 14-1.
“Kind of the way the season’s gone,” Iowa’s Aaron White said.
Devyn Marble’s runner in the lane with 17.9 seconds in regulation tied the game 64-all, and it went to overtime after Jordan McRae missed on a buzzer-beater. Marble was injured on the play and didn’t start the overtime.
But Tennessee scored the first five points of the extra period and never looked back, advancing to a Friday game with Massachusetts in Raleigh, N.C., with a 22-12 record.
“It’s tough,” said Marble, who finished fifth on Iowa’s career scoring list with 1,694 points, of the end of his career. “I’ve been wearing this jersey for four years.”
Iowa lost despite not turning the ball over in either the second half or overtime.
“We only had six turnovers for the game, and three of them were offensive fouls,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “So we gave ourselves a chance.”
But after shooting 52.2 percent before halftime, the Hawkeyes shot 44.4 percent in the second half and then missed all eight attempts in overtime. Iowa made 3-of-7 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes, but missed eight of nine after halftime.
Iowa led by as many as 12 points in the first half and kept the Volunteers at arm’s length for much of the second half. Tennessee’s first lead of the game came at 59-57 with 3:06 to play on Antonio Barton’s 3-pointer.
But Iowa regained the lead on Marble’s conventional 3-point play. And the Hawkeyes had possession with a 62-61 lead and 80 seconds to go. But Josh Oglesby missed a jumper, and Tennessee’s Jeronne Maymon countered with a basket.
Jarnell Stokes, who had 18 points and 13 rebounds for his 20th double-double of the season, made one of two free throws with 25 seconds to go to make Tennessee’s lead 64-62, which Marble erased.
Iowa hit the wall in overtime, however, losing for the seventh time in eight games to finish the season at 20-13.
The final buzzer also ended a long and emotional day for McCaffery. He was at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City on Wednesday morning, where his 13-year-old son Patrick had surgery to remove a tumor on his thyroid.
Then he caught a plane back to Dayton, rejoining the team at their hotel early Wednesday afternoon.
“What I told the guys was, this is one of the proudest, storied programs in college basketball, and it had become almost irrelevant,” McCaffery said in a TV interview after the game. “And they made it relevant again. I’m proud of what we accomplished and where we are.”
Despite his game-tying basket, Marble ended his college career on a tough night offensively. He missed 10 of his first 11 shots and finished with just seven points. He was 3-for-15 from the field and missed all six 3-point tries.
“Upsetting, yes, but we can’t be too mad, because we did play hard,” Marble said.
Iowa got a lift from two surprising sources. Sophomore center Adam Woodbury finished with a career-high 16 points. Freshman Peter Jok added 10, his first double-figure outing since a nonconference game against Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 9.
“He’s a guy who we all thought had a chance to be special when he came to Iowa,” McCaffery said of Woodbury. “We’re seeing that now.”
Iowa got off to a quick start, taking an 8-0 lead that forced Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin to call a timeout with 15:21 remaining.
The lead grew to 16-4 on an Oglesby 3. Marble’s only first-half basket with 3:42 to go made it 29-19.
But that would be Iowa’s last points of the first half. Tennessee scored the final seven, including McRae’s floater with a second remaining after an offensive rebound to bring the Volunteers within 29-26.
A dozen of the Hawkeyes’ 29 first-half points were scored in transition.
“I thought that’s where we lost the game,” White said.
–Iowa seniors Devyn Marble, Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe all played in the first half Wednesday. It was McCabe’s 137th career game, the most in Hawkeye basketball history. Basabe and Marble are tied for second on that list, with 136 games. Marble’s father, Roy, who played from 1986-89, is fourth with 134.
–Iowa started the game with no players with any NCAA experience. That number grew to 11 in the first half.
–Wednesday was the first time Iowa has played in Dayton Arena since Dec. 23, 1979. The Hawkeyes beat Dayton in the title game of the Dayton Classic 61-54, but they also had a significant loss. Star point guard Ronnie Lester injured his knee with 8 minutes left in that game and missed a significant portion of the season.
Basabe 0-2 0-0 0, Marble 3-15 1-1 7, Gesell 0-4 0-0 0, White 1-5 5-6 7, Woodbury 8-11 0-0 16, Olaseni 1-1 1-2 3, Oglesby 2-5 0-0 5, Jok 4-5 0-0 10, Clemmons 1-1 0-0 2, McCabe 2-5 4-4 9, Uthoff 2-4 2-2 6. Totals 24-58 13-15 65.
Richardson 6-13 4-4 17, Barton 2-8 4-4 10, Stokes 5-7 8-11 18, Maymon 3-4 3-4 9, McRae 6-15 6-7 20, Moore 2-3 0-0 4, Ndiaye 0-0 0-0 0, Thompson 0-2 0-0 0, Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Reese 0-2 0-0 0, Lopez 0-0 0-0 0, Campbell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-54 25-30 78.
Halftime-Iowa 29-26. End Of Regulation-Tied 64. 3-Point Goals-Iowa 4-16 (Jok 2-3, McCabe 1-2, Oglesby 1-3, White 0-1, Gesell 0-1, Marble 0-6), Tennessee 5-21 (Barton 2-6, McRae 2-6, Richardson 1-5, Moore 0-1, Thompson 0-1, Reese 0-2). Fouled Out-McCabe. Rebounds-Iowa 30 (Woodbury 8), Tennessee 37 (Stokes 13). Assists-Iowa 14 (Marble 5), Tennessee 13 (McRae, Moore 3). Total Fouls-Iowa 28, Tennessee 14. Technical-Stokes. A-11,534.