Aaron White eclipses 1,500 career points in much-needed Iowa win
IOWA CITY, Ia. – Iowa assistant basketball coach Kirk Speraw gave Aaron White some advice over the weekend. White took it to heart.
"He told me that my energy on the defensive end and my intensity can really trickle down, and have a big effect on the team," White said.
White was the catalyst in the Hawkeyes' much-needed 80-70 victory over North Florida on Monday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The senior forward matched a season high with 23 points, including a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. He added nine rebounds, a career-high five steals and had one assist to no turnovers in 32 minutes.
"I really thought his energy level was the difference in the game," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "He was all over the glass. He was all over the floor."
White also passed the 1,500-point mark in style with a nifty move and one-handed dunk in the second half. White gave the Iowa bench a staredown after the dunk.
"They were going crazy," White said. "I was just excited."
White, who now has 1,507 points, passed Jeff Horner and moved into 14th place on Iowa's career scoring list. Next up is Greg Brunner (1,516 points). White, who is shooting 88 percent from the line this season, has now attempted 504 free throws. Roy Marble holds the school record of 516.
White's accuracy from the line was a team trait, too. The Hawkeyes were 26-for-28, and didn't miss in 16 attempts the second half.
"When they're 26-of-28 from the line and we have 20 turnovers, that really is a difficult thing for us to overcome," North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll said.
The Ospreys (7-6) won 73-70 at Purdue earlier this season and lost 69-67 at Northwestern.
"We came in here with a chance to be in first place in the Big Ten," Driscoll said. "It didn't happen."
Iowa didn't set the world on fire, with 38 percent shooting from the field, but there were some bright spots.
The Hawkeyes were 8-for-20 from 3, their most productive effort from long distance in three games. Josh Oglesby made three of his four 3-pointers. He had been in a serious slump, going just 1-for-14 over the five previous games.
"I know I've been in a slump," Oglesby said. "I don't think it's technique. I just need to get in the gym more, shoot more and just believe in myself."
Oglesby did play strong defense on North Florida guard Trent Mackey. The son of an Iowa graduate who once attended Hawkeye basketball camp in the summer, Mackey made six of seven 3-pointers in the first half. Oglesby kept him in check the second half, when Mackey didn't score.
Jarrod Uthoff added 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, his third career double-double. Guards Mike Gesell and Peter Jok, making his first career start, added 12 points each. Jok started in place of Anthony Clemmons, who injured an ankle against Northern Iowa Sunday but played Monday before spraining his other ankle.
Iowa takes a 9-4 record in the start of Big Ten play Dec. 30 at No. 21 Ohio State.
"We've just got to keep playing hard," White said.