Jan 17, 2012; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Roy Devyn Marble (4) drives to the basket against Purdue Boilermakers guard Lewis Jackson (23) at Mackey Arena. Purdue defeats Iowa 75-68. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

NIT: Oregon beats Iowa

The Oregon Ducks have done it again and absolutely lit up the Iowa Hawkeyes in a 108-97 victory for the No. 3 seeded Ducks. Next up, a date with rivals and the No. 1 seeded Washington Huskies in the next round. Oregon recently shellacked LSU 96-76, and then turned in an even bigger offensive performance against a much worse defensive team, albeit a far superior offensive team that was one of the more efficient teams this season.

As a testament to Iowa’s scoring ability, the talented Roy Devyn Marble showed why he is the best Hawkeye in terms of pure talent by notching 31 points with 5 rebounds and 5 assists on 10-15 shooting. Marble was 7 for 8 on three-pointers and hit all four of his foul shots in a spectacular game for the guard. Oh, and that’s not even mentioning the fact that RDM never turned it over despite having so many possessions. Now that’s what we call an insane effort.

The ever-efficient Matt Gatens fell flat and was just 3-10, even though he has a TS% of over 60% on the season. Gatens was terrible from downtown with a 1-7 3-point tally to his name. Aaron White had 22 points, but it took him 17 shots (7-17) to reach that total. He was aided by some nice free throw shooting (7-8), and his 8 rebounds were key in a game in which his 3-ball (1-5) wasn’t working. White crashed the offensive boards and put in a nice effort, even if his efficiency was subpar.

You know who was huge? Bryce Cartwright; the guy who was a tremendous liability on offense this season and couldn’t stop a nosebleed on D en route to a 10.9 PER. However, Cartwright was phenomenal in this game and showed the top passing ability that had been his only legitimate asset this season. Cartwright had a Luke Ridnour-esque double-double with 12 points and 10 assists on 6-11 shooting. Keeping the Ridnour comparison in mind, he also came up big with four steals in a surprise performance.

Zach McCabe finished with four turnovers on the Hawkeyes in an uneven performance, but Melsahn Basabe was there on the bench and came up with a splendid 18 minutes to lift this team offensively. He went 8-13 in another efficient game with 8 rebounds to his credit to accompany 17 points.

On the Oregon Ducks, E.J. Singler was nearly perfect and knocked down 9 of 10 shots. He has been quiet recently and almost invisible in some poor outputs- especially in the last Pac-12 contests- but came up huge again when it mattered after some poor play. He dominated with 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Olu Ashaolu kept the pace off the bench by going 7-10 and 8-11 from the line with 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 4 assists. Free throw shooting has always been a problem for Ashaolu, but he wasn’t terrible against Iowa in an absolute offensive massacre.

Fellow benchmate Carlos Emory fell three points shy of Ashaolu’s mark, but he did best him with a 10-11 mark from the charity stripe and went a respectable 4-8 from the field in a 19 point game. He finished with 7 rebounds as well, but he also had a team-high three turnovers. Tyrone Nared (2 blocks), Jonathan Lloyd (5 assists), Tony Woods (3-4, 3 blocks), and Jeremy Jacob (4 rebounds) did what they have done all season; quietly play quality roles and chip in with the important, gritty statistics. What we do without those vets?

Garrett Sim and Devoe Joseph also took 10 shots each in a team-oriented effort (four Oregon players with exactly ten shots) with Sim going 4-10 and 3-6 from three point range. He also added 4 boards, while Joseph went crazy and facilitated play in an unselfish, 5-10 performance with eight assists. He finished with 15 points (same as Sim) and was 3-7 from three.

The Oregon Ducks are playing terrific basketball in the NIT, but the coming game against Washington will mean everything; most likely the tournament. Both of these teams are the best two teams in the tourney and had legitimate cases to make for being in the NCAA Tournament. In any case, they deserve to be where they are at right now; two great NIT teams making this tournament meaningful for the first time in a while. Oregon executed beautifully on offense and showed why we love basketball; there is nothing better than watching an artful form of great shooting and team-oriented offense with the veterans who make the tough plays.

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Tags: Aaron White Basketball Bryce Cartwright Carlos Emory Devoe Joseph E.J. Singler Garrett Sim Iowa Jeremy Jacob Jonathan Lloyd LSU Luke Ridnour Matt Gatens Melsahn Basabe NIT Olu Ashaolu Roy Devyn Marble Tony Woods Tyrone Nared Washington Huskies Zach McCabe

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