IOWA CITY, Iowa - Fran McCaffery could tell Mike Gesell was off his game. Instead of letting one of his sophomore work through it on his own, the Iowa coach did something to jump start one of his more talented players.
McCaffery met with Gesell and Roy Devyn Marble this week and told them he was going to switch their positions. The former would move to point guard, where he played last season, and the latter would slide over to the two.
It turned out that both players benefitted from the move.
"He was really good tonight," McCaffery said of Gesell. "He was running the break. He was making shots.
"I thought Dev, early on, was terrific, from the wing, moving the ball."
Gesell netted eight points and handed out seven assists against one turnover in a 109-63 whitewash of Maryland-Eastern Shore Thursday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Marble scored 10 to go with five assists (no turnovers) and four steals in 18 minutes.
"I felt like the first two games that I wasn't being aggressive enough," said Gesell, who was averaging 2.0 points and 2.0 assists a game coming into Thursday night. "Tonight, I really wanted to go out there and play my game, try to be aggressive and maybe open things up for other guys. That's what I did from the start of the game."
The Hawkeyes (3-0) led 30-9 nine minutes into the game and never looked back. Aaron White led seven Iowa players in double figures with 22 points. Jarrod Uthoff notched his first career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
About the only thing that bothered McCaffery Thursday night was when Marble passed the ball off the backboard to White for a dunk. The coach didn't appreciate the showboat move.
Marble said he was being torn two ways. He knew McCaffery would be mad at him but White was running after him telling him to drop it to him off the glass.
"I don't think you'll be seeing that again," Marble said.
Iowa returns home Sunday to play host to Abilene Christian (3:30 p.m. CT). Marble isn't sure if you'll find him at the one or the two in that contest.
"I'm not really sure," he said. "(Coach) McCaffery likes to mix it up. I think it will be a game by game thing depending on match-ups."
McCaffery indicated that he might stick with the new alignment while it's working.
"I think it's what we're gong to do," the coach said.
For the record, Gesell said he would have thrown the ball off of the backboard had White asked.
"You got to give Whitey the ball on that one," he said smiling.
Eastern Shore looked overmatched from the start on Thursday. The Hawks finished 24 of 75 from the floor, including 4 of 25 from beyond the arc. They were out-rebounded by 20.
Iowa shot 35 of 68 from the field, including 7 of 17 from three. The Hawkeyes handed out 24 assists against just 12 turnovers and outscored the visitors 53-19 in bench points.