Iowa 66, Howard 36
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa coach Fran McCaffery wants junior Devyn Marble to be his go-to guy in 2012-13.
Marble shot the ball like a star on Thursday night.
Marble scored a season-high 22 points, and Iowa throttled Howard 66-36 for its third straight win.
Aaron White added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Hawkeyes (3-0), who cruised despite hitting just four 3s in 21 tries.
Marble hit nine of his 15 shots - and half of Iowa's made 3s - after knocking down just 10 of 27 in his first two games.
"I definitely shot the ball better than the previous two games," said Marble, who scored at least 20 points for the third time in his career. "I wasn't really worried about it. The shots were looking good in those first two games. They just weren't falling. I'm going to continue to shoot."
Iowa took a 36-16 halftime lead over the overmatched Bison and never looked back. The Hawkeyes held Howard to the fewest points scored against them under third-year coach Fran McCaffery.
Mike Phillips had 11 to lead Howard (0-2), a MEAC school coming off a 10-21 season in 2011-12.
Considering that Howard opened the season with a 68-62 home loss to Division II Lincoln (Pa.), this wasn't expected to be a close one.
Marble made sure it never was.
Marble hit four of his first six shots, scoring 11 quick points as Iowa took a 15-5 lead after 10 minutes. Freshman Adam Woodbury's inside bucket made it 24-9 late in the first half.
"Marble is playing great. He's confident. He's got a diverse game. He can score in a lot of different ways," McCaffery said.
Howard had eight turnovers and just six field goals in the opening half, and the Hawkeyes scored more points in the paint, 22, than the Bison did from everywhere.
Iowa's two freshman starters, Woodbury and point guard Mike Gesell, fittingly closed out the half by hooking up for a short bank shot off a Gesell assist.
White kicked off the second half with a pair of soaring dunks - the second through traffic off of a Gesell feed - and Iowa extended its lead to 42-18.
"I knew (White) can get up. I knew that if I just put it near the rim, he could get it. It was a great play. He dunked it on the kid," Gesell said.
Howard made a mini-run to get within 17 before Marble hit a three that bounced off the rim and the top of the backboard before rolling in.
Even though the Hawkeyes clearly weren't facing an opponent with Big Ten-like talent, it was nonetheless an encouraging night for Marble.
McCaffery has made it clear that he wants Marble to fill the role that Matt Gatens had last season, and the emerging junior buried 6 of his first 9 tries against the Bison.
Iowa's defense did its job as well, as the Hawkeyes improved to 16-0 under McCaffery when holding their opponent below 60 points.
"I thought the defense was great," McCaffery said. "Got after their good players, the guys that we were worried about."