Oglesby sizzles in Iowa return
By: Scott Dochterman
IOWA CITY — Josh Oglesby had no problems sleeping Saturday night.
He crashed on time, participated in an early walkthrough and felt no soreness in his repaired right foot. When the Iowa junior’s name was called Sunday afternoon — “Josh, get Whitey” — he stepped into his first action this season. When he left the court six minutes later, he seemingly glided to the bench amid thunderous applause.
Oglesby buried his first four 3-point attempts of the season, less than seven weeks after a large pin was inserted into his foot. He scored 13 points to lift the No. 25 Hawkeyes (11-2) past Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-9) 86-61 Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Oglesby entered the game after the first media timeout and on his first trip up the court, he found his customary spot beyond the 3-point line. With no hesitation and a slightly quicker release, Oglesby pulled the trigger. It was good.
Four possessions later, he hit another one. Then on back-to-back trips up the court, Oglesby drilled two more. His third 3-pointer was from 25 feet from the basket. He left the game exhausted but to a standing ovation. He was relieved as much as he was thrilled with his performance.
“When I knocked down my first shot and hit three more, it was just something special for me,” Oglesby said.
“It was a sigh of relief, especially since last year. I was known for (being) a shooter, and I didn’t shoot very well. I’m just excited for the rest of the season.”
Oglesby, a Cedar Rapids Washington graduate, shot just 26.9 percent from 3-point range last season and had only two games with four or more 3-pointers. Sunday, he knocked down those shots almost effortlessly.
“Last year was a struggle for me, obviously,” he said. “I’ve got to get over that. That was last year, and this is a new year. To come out and shoot the way I did today helps me a lot.
“It felt great.”
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery has given Oglesby the freedom to shoot any shot during his tenure. McCaffery said Oglesby’s determination to return from his broken foot, coupled with his natural shooting prowess, allowed him to perform at a high level in his first game.
“I wasn’t surprised,” McCaffery said. “Not only did he make shots, he was passing it well. He looked very comfortable out there, I thought.”
Oglesby added two assists, two rebounds, a steal and a pair of turnovers in 20 minutes. He missed only one shot and even played a few possessions at point guard.
“I know it was tough for him sitting out all those weeks so I’m happy he’s back,” Iowa forward Aaron White said.
Oglesby’s marksmanship guided Iowa to a 52-15 halftime advantage. At one point the Hawkeyes led 39-5 and could do nothing wrong from either end. Center Adam Woodbury lost control of the ball while dribbling left of the basket but handled it in time to dish to White for a bucket and a foul. White, who was ill on Saturday, sat out the second half, as did Devyn Marble. They combined for 16 points and missed only one shot between them in the first half.
Iowa shot 75 percent in the first half 61.7 percent overall. Jarrod Uthoff connected on three 3-pointers and led the Hawkeyes with 16 points.
The Hawkeyes now sit idle until Dec. 31, when they open Big Ten play against Nebraska. McCaffery said his team is ready for the grind.
“I think the thing that you have to do now is just look ahead,” McCaffery said. “You don’t want to look back and say, we could have won this or if I could have done … we’re 11‑2, that’s what we are, and it wasn’t easy to get there, and we don’t know what these next 18 are, every one.
“I’ve got enough experience in that locker room to know and understand what that means in terms of preparation and execution, and we’ll be ready.”
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