Coach Pitino Interview
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Trailing unranked Minnesota at home Sunday afternoon, No. 14 Iowa turned to its go-to guy. Junior Josh Oglesby delivered.
Oglesby? Iowa's go-to guy? He was during a key Hawkeyes' rally. Then, leading scorers, Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White took over in the second half after scoring just one point combined before the break.
Sunday, it was Oglesby catching fire. Melsahn Basabe, Zach McCabe, Jarrod Uthoff, Mike Gesell, Adam Woodbury and Gabe Olaseni have carried the load at other times during the season.
The opponent stops one or two Hawkeyes, others respond. It's why they're 15-3 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1997-98 after Sunday's 94-73 win against the Golden Gophers.
Minnesota (14-5, 3-3) wasn't chopped liver. Iowa just made it seem that way. The Gophers defeated No. 11 Ohio State by 10 on Thursday night. Iowa's bench outscored them, 43-18.
"They've got tremendous depth," Minnesota Coach Richard Pitino said. "They keep coming with guys. They've done a great job of recruiting. As they go deeper and deeper into their bench, there's no drop-off.
"That's a testament to (Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery). It's not easy to play a lot of guys. He played 12 guys and there was no drop-ff."
White notched a team-high 18 points after being held scoreless in the first half. Marble added 16 after recording one before the break.
"Nothing needed to be said," White said. "We know we're better players than what we showed in the first half. By no means did we want to come out and be selfish in the second half. Obviously, a big part of our team is us two being aggressive. Early on in the second half, you saw the positives of us being aggressive."
Minnesota led 43-33 with 1:13 to play before halftime. The Hawkeyes finished the first half one a 8-0 run fueled by a pair of Oglesby (17 points) threes and a Gesell lay-in. They shot out of the intermission with a 11-3 spurt during which Marble drained a couple of treys.
The Gophers hung around by way of crashing the offensive glass and getting put-backs. They were within seven points of Iowa with 5:24 left in the game. They'd get no closer the rest of the way.
The Hawkeyes outscored Minnesota, 15-2, in the final five minutes. An announced crowd of 15,400 expressed their appreciation.
"Josh was obviously really, really good in that period (late in the first half)," McCaffery said. "We went to him, and he was on fire. But we also got a few stops. That gave us great momentum.
"Then you're sitting there at halftime and you're thinking, okay, we're down two, but Marble and White have one point. I feel pretty good about their involvement in the second half and their ability to effect some change out there, and boy, did they ever."
McCabe bounced back nicely from a few tough games. The senior scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out three assists without a turnover and had three steals.
"It was great to see Zach get eight," McCaffery said. "His offense had not been there for a couple games, but he had been playing really well, and he's incredibly valuable as a leader, as an experienced guy. But to see him make a big three and make some free throws, and obviously he was as valuable as anybody in handling their press."
Olaseni helped with 12 points and seven rebounds (six offensive) in 16 minutes off of the bench. Gesell contributed 11 points and five assists with only one turnover.
The Hawkeyes head to Michigan (5-0 Big Ten) on Wednesday trying to get to 5-1 for the first time since '96-97. There's a chance they'll be ranked in the Top 10 for the first time since '01.
"I don't try to pay attention to that," Gesell said. "It's something you dream about as a kid, playing for a Top 10 team, playing for a national championship. At the same time, we can't worry about rankings. We just have to take care of business and the rankings will take care of themselves."