IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — After just two games, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery moved Mike Gesell back over to point guard and put senior star Devyn Marble back on the wing.
One hundred and nine points later, that’s a backcourt the Hawkeyes might stick with.
Aaron White scored a season-high 22 points and Iowa crushed Maryland-Eastern Shore 109-63 Thursday night for its third straight win.
Marble had 10 points, five assists and four steals in 18 minutes at shooting guard, and Gesell broke out of a mini-slump with eight points and seven assists.
“It was just a change of pace, with me being able to go out there and be more aggressive, looking to score and at the same time finding my teammates,” Marble said. Gesell “is still comfortable playing (point guard) even though we just threw him back out there.”
Melsahn Basabe scored 12 points and Jarrod Uthoff had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (3-0), who started the game on a 32-9 run.
Iowa scored 56 points in the first half — a team record under McCaffery.
Zach McCabe also had 11 points for the Hawkeyes, who had 14 players score while cracking 100 points for just the third time under McCaffery.
Isaac Smith scored 19 points on 24 shots for Maryland-Eastern Shore (1-2). The Hawks won just two games a year ago.
But after letting Nebraska-Omaha jump out to a stunning seven-point halftime lead last Sunday, the focus was on how the Hawkeyes would start out against Maryland-Eastern Shore.
No worries on this night.
Iowa forced 11 turnovers and had eight players score during the first half alone. The most spectacular of the 20 shots Iowa made in the first 20 minutes came when Devyn Marble tossed the ball off the backboard to a trailing White, who threw it down to give Iowa a 35-point lead.
McCaffery wasn’t happy about it, but Marble said he simply succumbed to White’s nagging.
“He gets in just as much trouble just because he told me to do it,” Marble said. “He said, `Throw it off the backboard, Dev. Throw it off the backboard.’ It is what it is, though. I won’t listen to him again.”
It took just 10 seconds into the second half for White to bury a jumper and push Iowa’s lead back to 58-23. Marble and White hooked up for an alley-oop a few minutes later — highlighting a connection the Hawkeyes hope to lean on a lot this season.
Even though Maryland-Eastern Shore struggled to keep pace, Gesell’s performance was still encouraging.
Gesell, a sophomore who had moved to shooting guard to allow Marble to handle the ball, had struggled mightily in Iowa’s first two games.
Gesell had only taken three shots and scored four points in wins over UNC-Wilmington and Nebraska-Omaha. But he opened his night with a pair of 3s and a layup, and the Hawkeyes hit nine of their first 12 shots en route to a 23-7 lead.
“I’m prepared to play either position. I know that all season I’ll kind of be playing both with how deep we are as a team,” Gesell said.
Iowa hosts Abilene Christian on Sunday, then face a Penn team picked to finish second in the Ivy League on Nov. 22.
The Hawkeyes likely won’t be truly tested until they travel to a tournament in the Bahamas, where they’ll face Xavier and have possible matchups with Tennessee and Kansas.
“We’re getting a lot out of the (center) spot. We’re getting a lot off the bench. Our guard play has been solid. I think our defense at half court has to get better,” McCaffery said. “That’s why you work on it now.”
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)