IOWA CITY, Iowa - Fran McCaffery looked to his bench early Monday night. The Iowa coach continued to juggle his lineup throughout the game in searching of the right combination.
Fortunately for McCaffery, at least two things were working in his favor. He's built excellent depth in the fourth year of his program and the opponent was inferior.
Fairleigh Dickinson scored the game's first six points before the Hawkeyes netted the next four. The first media timeout popped up with just under 16 minutes left in the opening half and McCaffery pulled all of his first-teamers with the exception of point guard Mike Gesell.
The coach pushed the right button. The No. 23 Hawkeyes scored the game's next 15 points en route to a 92-59 victory in front of a small crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"The bench has been great," McCaffery said. "We got the break going. We threw it ahead. We really attacked their three-quarter court pressure with great success."
Monday's environment in CHA paled in comparison to last week's raucous full house for Notre Dame. Iowa, which played for the sixth time 12 days, looked ragged at times.
That's going to happen during a 30-plus game schedule. It's tough for teams to bring their A games every night.
The Hawkeyes have become good enough to dispatch of the likes of Fairleigh Dickinson (3-9) in pretty much any state. They're not going to lose to bad teams and have crushed them throughout a 10-1 start.
Whether planned or not, McCaffery's decision to utilize his bench Monday could help a lot on Friday. Iowa travels to rival Ames to take on the No. 17 Cyclones in what will be its first true road game of the season. It will be hostile.
Nine different Hawkeyes played at least 16 minutes and a 10th played 10 on Monday. Five Hawkeyes reached double figures in scoring with three of them notching double-doubles. Melsahn Basabe scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Gabe Olaseni contributed 14 and 10 and Jarrod Uthoff had 10 and 10.
Peter Jok and Zach McCabe scored 11 and 10 points, respectively off of the Iowa bench to join Olaseni and Uthoff as reserves sparking the Hawkeyes.
Iowa's leading scorer, Roy Devyn Marble, was held without a point in the first half and finished with seven in 20 minutes. Aaron White, averaging the second most points in the team, had eight in 16 minutes.
"When you play in a game like this, your bench has to take the next step, not just match what you did," Marble said. "The bench did that today and I was very proud of them."
-Iowa had three players with double-doubles tonight versus Fairleigh Dickinson: Melsahn Basabe (12 points and 11 rebounds); Gabriel Olaseni (14 points and 10 rebounds); Jarrod Uthoff (10 points and 10 rebounds). The last time an Iowa team had three players post double-doubles in the same game was against Penn State on March 7, 2009 in a double overtime contest: Cyrus Tate (15 points and 10 rebounds); Jake Kelly (22 points and 11 assists); Jarryd Cole (14 points and 11 rebounds).
The last time Iowa had three players post double-doubles in points and rebounds was against UC-Irvine on Dec. 29, 1993: Jess Settles (21 points and 11 rebounds); Jim Bartels (10 points and 12 rebounds); Russ Millard (12 points and 11 rebounds).
-Tonight is the only time since at least 1996-97 that Iowa has had three different players with 10+ rebounds in the same game.
-Iowa’s 54 rebounds ties for the fifth highest rebound total under McCaffery.
-Iowa has scored 82+ points in all but one game this season.