A span of 20 seconds midway through the second half turned a close game into a rout. The Iowa Hawkeyes were whistled for three technical fouls and a two point U.N.I. advantage ballooned to 10 and the Panthers roared away for an 80-60 win. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery was not around for the end of the game.
He picked up his second technical foul with U.N.I. leading 63-47 and was ejected from the game. The fireworks began when Iowa’s Roy Devin Marble fouled U.N.I.’s Austin Pehl and then appeared to be shoved by Pehl.
Marble says he did foul Pehl, but says Pehl pushed him and that is why he fell down. “I’m not a flopper, so I feel like I really got pushed, I don’t know how they didn’t see that, but that’s really not on me,” Marble said.
The officials huddled and only Marble was given a foul. Marble says Pehl was a little upset because he had stripped him of the ball on the previous play. Moments later a game tying basket by Zach McCabe was waved off and the flurry of technical fouls began.
Despite losing by 20 Iowa had eight more field goals in the game but U.N.I. made 29 free throws and the Hawkeyes only three. McCaffery refused a chance to comment on the officiating. “We fought hard, we didn’t execute in the second half as well as we executed in the first half, but I thought we started the second half well…we got it to two,” McCaffery says. He says they then had the bucket to tie the game, but there was the foul and he says that “was upsetting.”
The Hawks were without starting point guard Bryce Cartwright who injured a hamstring in practice. The technical fouls gave the Panthers a chance to pull away and they took advantage. Panther coach Ben Jacobson says they made the free throws and that was important. Jacobson says that with quite a bit of youth on his roster, he’s been impressed with the way the Panthers have steadily improved early this season.
The win is U.N.I.’s seventh in a row as the Panthers improve to 8-1. U.N.I. will next be in action on Saturday when they host Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Iowa falls to 5-4. The Hawkeyes continue their trip across the state when they travel to Ames to face Iowa State on Friday.
By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls