On to NIT Final Four
BY HANK KURZ JR.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Roy Devyn Marble scored 24 points and Iowa ended Virginia’s 19-game home winning streak with a 75-64 victory in the NIT quarterfinals Wednesday night, earning the Hawkeyes a trip to Madison Square Garden.
Marble’s lone 3-pointer in five tries came with 13:02 to play and gave Iowa (24-12) a 42-41 lead. It also sparked a 19-5 run that featured six points inside from Adam Woodbury and 3-pointers by Josh Oglesby and Zach McCabe. McCabe finished the run, putting the Hawkeyes ahead 58-46 with 5:18 to play, and Virginia got no closer than nine the rest of the way.
“It means a lot,” Marble said about playing in New York. “It’s Mecca. It’s going to be dope to play there.”
McCabe and the 7-foot-1 Woodbury added 10 points each for the Hawkeyes, who were 2-8 on the road coming in. The victory before an enthusiastic crowd of 11,141 at John Paul Jones Arena showed a sign of maturity, Woodbury said.
“Now let’s go win two more,” Woodbury, only a freshman, said.
He had a lot to do with why they managed to hand the Cavaliers (23-12) their first home loss in 20 games, scoring three baskets inside during the decisive run and reaching double figures for only the second time in his last 27 games.
Justin Anderson hit five 3-pointers, scored a career-high 24 points and had five blocks and three steals to lead Virginia, and fellow freshman Mike Tobey added 15 points and three blocks, but the Cavaliers had no answer for the Hawkeyes’ run.
“Tonight was probably the biggest game I’ve played in all year,” Anderson said. “You have to experience these things to know what true joy feels like in the end.”
It was only the Cavs’ second home loss, and both denied them a trip to New York. The first came against Delaware in the Preseason NIT, also with a trip to Madison Square Garden on the line, and had been Virginia’s last home loss.
It also marked the end on point guard and senior captain Jontel Evans’ Virginia career.
“He’s a pit bull,” junior Akil Mitchell said. “He’s always ready to fight for you. He’s got your back. He’s that guy in the locker room that everybody looks to, not just because he’s a senior, but also because he has that leadership.”