IOWA CITY, Iowa - Josh Oglesby is human. As much as he tries to forget his struggles on the basketball court, his mind is occupied.
"It's hard, especially during the game. It's in the back of your head; you miss a couple of shots," the Iowa sophomore said. "I've really tried to forget about that this year; refresh my brain. I believe the next one is going in."
The psyche of the sharp-shooter can be fragile. It can be maddening when you're connecting on only 26.0 percent of your three-point attempts as Oglesby was heading into Tuesday night.
"You just keep believing, just keep shooting, the coaches have told me that all year," Oglesby said. "Early on (Tuesday), my shot wasn't falling and it was frustrating. Then, I made those two and it felt good."
It felt great for the announced crowd of 14,566 fans inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. A pair of Oglesby treys broke open a close game and Iowa knocked off rival Illinois, 63-55.
"I've got faith in him. The team has faith in him," Iowa guard Roy Devyn Marble said. "We know he's going to knock shots down. We just try to let him go about it his way.
"I give him his space. I tease him a little bit. I say, "you going to knock a shot down for me?" and stuff like that. At the end of the day, I'm proud of him. He knocked down two big shots for us."
Marble netted a game-high 21 points to go with a team-best six rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes. He finished the night two points shy of 1,000 career points. He was attempting to join his dad, Roy Marble, in that milestone to become the first father-son combo to pull off the feat.
Iowa (19-11 overall, 8-9 Big Ten) kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive with the victory. The Hawkeyes used a suffocating defense to overcome Illinois (21-10, 8-9), who shot 18-of-63 (28.6 percent) from the floor.
Sophomore Gabe Olaseni recorded six blocks for Iowa, one more than his total through the first 16 Big Ten games. The Hawkeyes' 12 blocks tied a team record.
"I thought (Illinois) did a good job swinging the ball to the corner and driving from there," Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. "That's a tough action to guard. Fortunately, we had Gabe back there. He was sort of taking care of business."
The Hawkeyes extended their lead to double digits several times throughout he game only to watch Illinois climb back into it with timely three-pointers. The home team clung to a 48-46 advantage with 4:45 remaining in regulation.
Marble missed a jumper on the Hawkeyes' next possession but they were able to coral the offensive board. Marble then found Oglesby in the corner. After missing his first four three-point attempts, he drilled it.
Brandon Paul missed a trey on the other end and Marble located Oglesby on the wing. The sophomore calmly sank the triple. Illinois called a timeout and Oglesby's teammates swarmed him as he came to the bench.
"I feel for him when he's missing those because I see him in practice every day and he hardly ever misses," Center Adam Woodbury said. "He's the best three-point shooter I've ever played with. To see him knock those down, the excitement that was in his face, it was fun to see."
D.J. Richardson missed a dunk attempt on Illinois' next possession. Marble came back down the court, hit a lay-up, was fouled and sank the free throw. Iowa led 57-46 with 1:39 to play. It proved to be too much for the Illini to overcome.
Iowa finishes the regular season Saturday when it plays host to %%MATCH_10%% at 1:20 p.m. central time. The Hawkeyes will be going for at least .500 in the conference for the first time since 2006-07.