Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

51° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Hachad and Parker help answer Hawkeyes’ runs

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Relaxing in their hotel room the night before Saturday’s matinee against Iowa, T.J. Parker and Mohamed Hachad had a chat, in French, about their basketball woes.

Hachad was scoreless in more than two games. Parker, the team’s point guard, had dished just two assists in Wednesday’s loss to Michigan.

“We just talked about putting the girls away and concentrating on basketball,” Parker said.

With Northwestern’s women no longer a concern, both players turned in their finest performances of the season. And facing a raucous crowd at Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena, NU’s backcourt held its composure, helping the Cats earn a 77-68 upset win over the Hawkeyes.

Twice during the game NU appeared ready to unravel, but each time the team recovered, thwarting Iowa’s chances. At one point — four minutes into the second half — the Cats watched their 15-point lead dwindle to five.

Once Greg Brunner capped a 10-0 Iowa run with a layup, the Iowa faithful went wild. More than 13,000 people — the largest crowd NU has seen all season — stood to cheer their team, making on-court communication difficult.

But faced with the prospect of losing the big lead, Parker called on his teammates to increase their intensity.

“I told my team, that’s not going to happen guys,” he said. “We’re going to go out there and if we can blow them out by 20, then we’re going to do it.”

The Cats responded. With the arena rocking, Vedran Vukusic calmly drained a 3-pointer, giving NU an eight-point advantage. After a couple of layups by Hachad, and one by Jitim Young, the Cats regained a 14-point advantage.

“They were trying to come back, every single time,” said Hachad, who recorded a career-high 18 points. “But like coach said, every single time, we looked like we had an answer for them.”

NU also responded to an Iowa challenge in the first half. After building an 18-12 lead, the Cats watched as Iowa used a 9-0 run to go ahead 24-22.

But just as he would do in the second half, Vukusic broke NU’s scoreless streak by sinking a 3-pointer and silencing the crowd.

Young missed scoring in double figures for the first time since Nov. 29, but he just hopes the Cats can keep on rolling.

“It’s very difficult to win in the Big Ten on the road, and for us to come in and win,” Young said, “it shows a lot about our team.”

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Hachad and Parker help answer Hawkeyes’ runs