DES MOINES – When you're hot, you're hot and for most of Iowa's 80-73 victory over Northern Iowa Saturday Devyn Marble was on fire.
The junior poured in 30 points, a building record for NCAA play and one off his career best, in leading the Hawkeyes to a win over the Panthers in the inaugural Big Four Classic inside Wells Fargo Arena.
Marble wasn't the only Hawkeye with a hot hand against the Panthers as freshman Mike Gesell tallied a new career high with 23 points. No other Iowa player reached double figures as seven other players combined to account for the 27 remaining points.
Eric May doled out a career best seven assists as the Hawks improved to 9-2 in non-conference play with two games remaining against South Carolina State and Coppin State before Big Ten action begins with No. 1 Indiana on Dec. 31.
Iowa shot a blistering 56.3 percent from beyond the arc in the first half, making 9 of 16 three-point attempts to hold a 40-32 lead at the half. That helped the Hawks overcome 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play.
Northern Iowa cut Iowa's lead down to a slim four points with eight minutes left to play but a jumper from Melsahn Basabe and an Aaron White three-pointer on the heels of a UNI turnover helped stave off any further bleeding.
"He stepped up, didn't hesitate, and he drilled it," said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery of White's shot. "That, and Basabe's jumper, might have been two of the biggest shots in the game."
Deon Mitchell led the Panthers in scoring with 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting. Seth Tuttle added 18 but it wasn't enough to overcome Iowa's 12-of-25 shooting from beyond the arc or the fact the Hawks made nine more free throws than UNI even attempted.