IOWA CITY, Iowa – Roy Devyn Marble scored 28 points to help Iowa hold off Stony Brook 75-63 on Friday night in the second round of the NIT.
Aaron White added 13 points and seven rebounds for Iowa (23-12), which had to work for its ninth win in 11 games.
Stony Brook hung with Iowa until early in the second half. With the game tied 41-41, Iowa went on a 13-3 run and never trailed again.
Mike Gesell, who did not start because of a foot injury, came off the bench to spark the run with a 3-pointer and an assist to Melsahn Basabe on a dunk that brought the sellout crowd of more than 15,000 fans to its feet.
“What it says about him is what kind of an amazing person he is. Not a lot of guys can do that,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said of Gesell, who played 19 minutes. “He’s sitting on the bench, analyzing what’s going on and what we need.”
Jameel Warney scored 17 points for the Seawolves (25-8), who finished with the most wins in school history.
Marble started where he left off Wednesday, when he led the Hawkeyes with 24 points. The junior guard got going with a layup on Iowa’s first possession and rattled off 10 points in the first 4 minutes.
But Dave Coley and Warney kept Stony Brook in the game. Coley scored 11 points in the first 9 minutes, including three 3-pointers, and the Seawolves went on a 17-8 run to pull ahead 28-25. The Hawkeyes regained the lead with a 3-pointer by Zach McCabe and a jumper from Gesell.
Iowa led 37-34 at halftime after reserve guard Josh Oglesby came off a screen to hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds.
“From a momentum standpoint, that was a big play for us, to go into halftime with a lead,” McCaffery said.
Every time Iowa seemed ready to pull away, Stony Brook had an answer. Tommy Brenton drove through the lane to hit a tough shot to cut Iowa’s lead to 46-43. A four-point play by Jackson cut Iowa’s lead to 56-52, butIowa answered with a 5-0 run, punctuated by a 3-pointer from Marble.
“He was phenomenal tonight,” McCaffery said of Marble, noting that he had 5 assists and one turnover.
Senior Eric May added a key 3-pointer and Gabe Olaseni added a 3-point play to seal the game for the Hawkeyes.
One more win would put Iowa in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York after the Hawkeyes barely missed qualifying for the NCAA tournament, which they had hoped to make for the first time since 2006.
“We’re just making plays down the stretch and we weren’t doing that in the Big Ten season and now we’re starting to do that in this tournament,” Marble said. “If we can continue to do that, we’ll be alright.”