Assertive Devyn Marble leads Iowa to 5th straight win

Hawkeyes junior guard scores 27 against South Carolina State, knocks down 6 3-pointers

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IOWA CITY — Iowa junior guard Devyn Marble scored only six points against Iowa State two weeks ago, but it wasn't his statistics that troubled him in the aftermath of the Hawkeyes' 80-71 win that night.

It was everything else about his offensive game.

"I played as a decoy pretty much all game, and it was working," Marble said. "I was really happy we got the W. It didn’t really bother me, but I still needed to be more aggressive than I was. It wasn’t even that I wasn’t shooting or this or that, but I was lagging around. I wasn’t cutting hard. I wasn’t setting screens and stuff like that that was getting other people open."

Marble since has become more assertive on offense, and the points have started to flow. Marble scored 30 points against Northern Iowa on Saturday and followed up Wednesday with 27 points in 22 minutes against South Carolina State. The Hawkeyes (10-2) now have won five straight games.

Wednesday, Marble knocked down seven of his last eight shots from the field and drilled six 3-pointers. He added an assist, two rebounds and no turnovers. By the time he exited for good less than four minutes into the second half, Marble had outscored the Bulldogs 27-22.

“We all know that Devyn is a tremendous scorer,” Iowa guard Mike Gesell said. “That’s basically his role on this team, to put the ball in the basket. He’s been doing a great job of that in these last two games, and he’s been shooting the ball tremendously well. I personally think he’ll continue to do this throughout the season.”

Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said he's never told Marble to be more aggressive, and he always has the green light. Marble has 10 3-pointers in his last two games.

"There have been times when I said, 'Why didn't you shoot that particular shot?'" McCaffery said. "You know, he was open. Because he's got such a great mid-range game, but he's not a guy that really hunts shots. He's a very unselfish player. I don't ever want him to get away from that. But I do want him to be the guy. You know, I think that's what he's starting to do."

Marble hit his first four 3-pointers from the corner on Wednesday, then moved to the top of the key to sink his last two 3-pointers. He's also a force in transition and with his 6-foot-7 frame, Marble is able to post up smaller guards.

"It just makes my whole game a lot easier when I’m able to shoot the perimeter shot the way I’m shooting it right now," Marble said. "Teams, like in the UNI game, they were a little off and their guards were smaller so I was able to shoot over them. Shots were falling. Same thing (Wednesday). Once they get aggressive and come up on me, I’m just going to go around them.

"So what you’re seeing now is the beneficiary of being aggressive, not so much of being a scorer but moving without the ball and being assertive at all times."

Marble's experience running point also has benefits for his teammates. He also frequently shifts from off-guard to the point and has 36 assists to 26 turnovers. Marble finished fifth in the Big Ten last year in assist-to-turnover ratio.

"He's not a guy that if it's going to go out there and just be a volume shooter," McCaffery said. "He's not that kind of ... he's a complete player. That's what I love about him."

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