IOWA CITY — When Devyn Marble saw that Abilene Christian planned to defend him with a 5-foot-9 guard on Sunday, his eyes lit up.
“I was surprised at who they had guarding me early on,’’ Iowa’s 6-6 senior admitted. “I knew it was going to be a tough night for him.’’
It was a tough night for all the visiting Wildcats as Marble got off to a blazing hot start and led the Hawkeyes to their most efficient offensive showing yet in a 103-41 victory over Abilene Christian at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Marble fired in 15 points in the first 6 ½ minutes to get Iowa off and rolling. He finished with 27 points in only 20 minutes as the Hawkeyes (4-0) topped the 100-point mark for the second straight game. That’s something they haven’t done since the first week of the 1997-98 season.
“That's what this part of the season is …’’ Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “Every day there are teams beating other teams that you didn't think were supposed to beat those teams, and you don't want to find yourself in that situation with five minutes to go because you weren't ready to go at the start of the game …
“The bottom line is you've just got to make sure you take care of business.’’
The Hawkeyes, who could move into the Top 25 when the next Associated Press poll comes out today, definitely did that.
They opened a 46-22 halftime lead, then went on a 32-4 run after halftime, pushing the lead to 78-26 before the Wildcats (0-4) even had a field goal in the second half.
They shot 62.3 percent from the field, 72.5 percent on attempts from two-point range, and had only five turnovers. Their 25 assists were spread between 10 different players.
No one was more impressive than Marble, who connected on 9 of 13 shots from the field.
“He was really mixing up his game, both with threes and drives and pull ups and post ups,’’ McCaffery said. “That's the reason we moved him back to the 2 spot is to get him all over the floor with the ball. I think that's where he's at his best.’’
Abilene Christian, which held a lead in the second half against Maryland on Wednesday, started three players 6-foot or shorter and never really found the right player to put on Marble, who had shot just 30.8 percent from the field while averaging 11 points per game in the first three games of the season.
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“He was a mismatch tonight, like he is almost every night, and he finally got his scoring going,’’ Iowa forward Aaron White said. “It was good to see.’’
Marble, who was switched from the point guard position back to shooting guard in Thursday’s victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore, said he was just trying to be more assertive when he got his chances.
“I felt like it was supposed to happen,’’ he said. “I work on my shot every day. I shoot well in practice. It was only a matter of time. I just wanted to get into a rhythm before we head to the Bahamas and start playing against top-tier competition.’’
Peter Jok added 15 points for the Hawkeyes, who host the University of Pennsylvania — including Jok’s brother, Dau — on Friday.
Abilene Christian, which hit 10 first-half threes in its upset bid against Maryland, shot just 25.9 percent from the field and was 3 for 23 from behind the arc.