Iowa CITY, Iowa - The Iowa men's and women's basketball unofficially tipped off their season's with the annual Black and Gold event Friday night here at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The show featured a lot of three-pointers, dunks and pyrotechnics.
The school announced the crowd at 7,140 and it was every bit of that. Fans started piling into the facility more than an hour before it began to register for prizes and get as close as they possibley could to the action.
Among the recruits in attendance were Michael Nzei, a Class of 2014 power forward on his official visit. Class of 2015 prospects Tyler Hall and Evan Boudreaux, along with Cordell Pemsl, a '16, also were spotted in attendance.
The Iowa women opened the festivities with their players being introduced. That wrapped up with head coach Lisa Bluder being carried out by her team like royalty in roman times.
The Hawkeyes played an eight-minute scrimmage during which freshman Ally Disterhoft shined. The West High graduate displayed a strong offensive game from the perimeter and by putting the ball on the floor and getting to the hoop.
Attention then turned to the men, where the players were introduced by class in alphabetical order. Each guy picked his intro music and was announced to the crowd. Some of them, like junior Darius Stokes, played it up for the fans with a dance and Rastafarian gear, while others, like senior Devyn Marble, waved quickly at the crowd and moved on.
The introductions wrapped up with Marble and Aaron White rolling out a giant basketball to mid court. Out of it popped head coach Fran McCaffery.
The dunk contest came up next. The judges were Iowa basketball royalty Greg Stokes, Roy Marble, James Moses, Val Barnes and Jess Settles. White, Okey Ukah, Mike Gesell, Melsahn Basabe and Kyle Meyer gave it their best shot but were no match for winner, Gabe Olaseni, who took off from around the foul line and flushed one home.
The Hawkeyes then scrimmaged for two, 10-minute halves. The black team led by Marble, Zach McCabe, Josh Oglesby, Adam Woobury, Jarrod Uthoff and Anthony Clemmons bested the gold squad piloted by Basabe, White, Gesell, Olaseni and freshman Peter Jok, 69-57.
While no statistics were kept, Iowa shot the ball well as a team, a good sign a season after being under 30 percent from three. Jok looked very smooth from beyond the arc and Oglesby knocked down a couple triples after missing his first few.
Uthoff showed the crowd the versatility it could come to love this season. In about a one-minute stretch of game clock, the redshirt sophomore transfer from Wisconsin drove the baseline for a lay-up, hit a 3-pointer, grabbed an offensive rebound and assisted on a McCabe three.
Marble controlled the game by hitting three-pointers and rattling home dunks that brought the crowd to its feet. White also connected on shots from inside and out.
It was a nice taste for an excited fan base hungry for basketball success after a seven-year absence from the NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeye men and women are scheduled to be in action together again on Nov. 3 when each will play an exhibition game against an outside opponent.