After a slow start and finding themselves behind for the entire regulation session, the Iowa Hawkeyes took their first lead with two free throws from Gabe Olaseni a minute into the overtime session. Those two free throws and some other key buckets helped Iowa earn a spot in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament with a 77-74 victory over the Xavier Musketeers.
Xavier jumped out to a 6-0 lead three minutes into the ball game before Devyn Marble, who had a game high 30 points, got Iowa on the board. The Hawkeyes really struggled with Xavier’s transition game. They continuously let Xavier get transition buckets which is why Xavier led the entire game until the end.
Fran McCaffery finally went to a zone and that seemed to be slowing the Musketeers down. Xavier struggled scoring in the half court due to Iowa’s defensive pressure.
For Iowa, Marble was the main focal point on the offensive side in the first half. Marble ended the first half with 16 of Iowa’s 30 points. The Musketeers were much more balanced, Semaj Christon had 10 points and Justin Martin had 9. Xavier shot 50% from the field in the first half which allowed them to build a 7 point lead.
In the second half, it only got worse for Iowa. The Hawkeyes let Xavier build a lead of 14 at the under 16 minute media timeout and they had a 13 point lead at the under 12 timeout.
Then Xavier started to wear down and make some mistakes. From the under 12 timeout to the under 8 timeout, Iowa went on a 10-0 run, sparked by Marble, to cut the lead to just 3. Marble found himself with 29 points going into the under 8 timeout. Marble would score one more point before leaving the game with a lower right leg cramp.
That meant someone had to step up.
Xavier turned the ball back over to Iowa with about 2 minutes left in the game and just a two point lead. Iowa would then go down and tie the ball game up at 67. After two Xavier free throw’s, Iowa ran a great set play to get Gabe Olaseni a great look to tie it again. Xavier’s Dee Davis turned the ball over with 24 seconds left, which meant Iowa had the last shot. A set play for McCabe failed as Zach’s shot was blocked at the end of regulation.
So, we went to overtime.
Iowa would outscore Xavier 8-5 in the overtime session, but, as usual, they made it interesting. Iowa turned the ball over with 20 seconds left in the game while holding a three point lead. Xavier would get 3 looks at the rim, but would fail to convert on all 3.
Marble finished the game with 30 points, Zach McCabe had 11, Aaron White chipped in 10, and Gabe Olaseni recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Olaseni was also huge at the foul line, he went 8-9 on the night.
Xavier’s Semaj Christon played just 28 minutes and sat out a majority of the second half due to cramps. Justin Martin was the high man for the Musketeers with 15 points.
Iowa will now play the winner of the UTEP/Tennessee game. That game will be played tomorrow at 6 p.m. CT.