Hawks Snap Skid, Beat Northwestern
Iowa snapped two losing streaks on Saturday in their 70-50 win at Northwestern; a three-gamer to start Big Ten play this year and five straight losses to Northwestern.
Over the past few years, Northwestern’s 1-3-1 zone had been a huge problem for the Hawkeyes. In the first half of this game, Northwestern was content to play mostly man to man against Iowa. Iowa led by 10 at the break, 25-15 and it was ugly all around.
In the second half, the Hawkeyes came out scoring and Northwestern shifted to the 1-3-1. That’s when Iowa really turned up the dial on the scoring and the Cats went to a 2-3 zone and saw more of the same.
Iowa attacked the zone with crisp ball reversal, attacking the short corner with big men who could make 12 footers and weakside flashers into the paint. Josh Oglesby also helped Iowa’s cause from range, making four three-point buckets in the second half to score 14 for Iowa.
White led Iowa with 17 points on at least four dunks and had a pair of pretty alley-oop slams, too. He had six boards for the Hawkeyes. Iowa welcomed back Devyn Marble who missed the Michigan State game with an ankle injury; Marble scored eight for Iowa, doing most of his damage in the first half. Melsahn Basabe scored 11 points in 13 minutes and was very active on the night, just as he was against Michigan State.
I doubt Fran McCaffery will pull Adam Woodbury from the starting lineup in place of Basabe, but Mel’s play of late is certainly deserving of more minutes (as long as he can stay out of foul trouble, which sent him to the bench on Sunday night).
Iowa was 29-63 from the floor and just 4-16 from three. Northwestern was 15-51 and 5-26; that was the killer for the Cats. When their three’s aren’t falling, they have no chance. Iowa enjoyed a 43-33 advantage on the glass, including 11 offensive rebounds. They also exacted a 40-18 bulge in the paint against the smaller Wildcats. The Hawkeyes had 22 assists on those 29 turnovers, showing just how well they performed against the zone defense.
Iowa will have five days to prepare for its next game, a Saturday night home game against Wisconsin. That will be good for Marble as he can rest his injured ankle, although he did play high 30 minutes.
This game figures to be high on emotion as Iowa will be remembering the passing of Chris Street, who died in a car accident 20 years ago on January 19th.
Iowa now sits at 12-5 overall and 1-3 in Big Ten play. In my preseason predictions, I had Iowa at those marks, although I gave Iowa a win against MSU and a loss at Northwestern. While this win isn’t going to standout on a possible NCAA tournament resume, the RPI always favors road wins over home wins and it was good to see Iowa beat down an inferior opponent on the road. Iowa also needed this win to replenish some confidence, as the first three games of their Big Ten slate have been a meat grinder and their offense has not been crisp. It was not great in the first half but the second half was one of the better executed games offensively that Iowa has played in at least a month. The game against Wisconsin is one that Iowa really needs to put in the win column if it wants to be in a ‘March Situation’ in a couple of months.