Iowa CITY, Iowa - Iowa wrapped up a successful non-conference schedule with a dominating 80-50 win against Coppin State Saturday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The outcome never really was in question with the Big Ten school dominating the visitors from the MEAC all afternoon.
Aaron White led the way for the winners with 20 points while Gabe Olaseni came off the bench to contribute 14 with seven rebounds. Roy Devyn Marble added 11 points to the victory. The junior reached double figures in scoring for the 12th time in 13 games.
The Hawkeyes (11-2) ran their win streak to six games, their longest since December of 2004. It came on the heels of back-to-back losses to Wichita State and Virginia Tech in late November.
"I think it was good for us that we had a couple of rough patches, a couple of games that we didn't play our best," White said. "I thought we learned from every game."
Iowa bounced back with wins against in-state rivals Iowa State and Northern Iowa before rolling over South Carolina State and Coppin State this week.
"What we did is we didn't take any game for granted," White said. "We didn't come into this game or the South Carolina game and since the name on their jersey isn't Indiana, we were still ready for them, which is big. The young guys are learning. I really think we grew in this non-conference."
Iowa improved to 9-0 at home this season. Coppin State (3-10) tied the game at 7-7 early in first half only to see Iowa go on a 17-2 run to put it away for intents and purposes.
The Hawkeyes used a smothering defense that forced the visitors into 12 first-half turnovers. They led 40-14 at the break.
"Twenty turnovers, 0 for 17 (on 3-point shots), you don't expect to win by 30," Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. "Our defensive concentration and intensity early set the tone. We really got after them with our press. We did some stuff aggressively in the half court. We got some transition opportunities. We did a pretty good job of attacking their zone."
Eric May delivered the highlight off the game. The team's lone senior dribbled into the lane, rose up midway through it and sent in a thunderous dunk that electrified the crowd.
"I missed it in the first half," May said. "So when I got a chance in the second half I wasn't going to pass it up and shoot a three. It's a little easier than the three."
With the non-league action in the rearview mirror, pre-season No. 1 Indiana comes to town on New Year's Eve for the Big Ten opener for both teams. The Hawkeyes hold high hopes heading into conference play for the first time in a long time. They need a good showing to end an NCAA Tournament drought dating back to '06.
"We've improved a lot, especially since when I first got here," said Marble, a junior. "I don't know what our record was going into the break, but that's in the past. We've got a good team now. I don't think we're as good as we can be yet. We still have a lot of work to do."