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Men’s Basketball: Northwestern routs Iowa from behind the arc, 83-64

Josh Walfish

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In a battle of interior play versus perimeter shooting, it was the outsider shooters who won.

Northwestern used 13 3-pointers to offset a 29-21 rebounding deficit, beating Iowa 83-64 Thursday.

“It was a nice team victory,” coach Bill Carmody said. “The scoring was balanced and a lot of guys did some nice things out there. I felt a lot of energy out there and the guys played together well.”

The Wildcats (15-8, 5-6 Big Ten) were led by their starting five, all of whom scored double-digit points. Senior forward John Shurna scored 17 points, but the leading scorer was Dave Sobolewski who added 23. It was the third straight game in which the freshman point guard scored in double figures, the first such stretch of his career.

Sobolewski struggled with shooting before this three-game winning streak that began on Feb. 2. In the last three games of January, the freshman averaged 5 points per game and had seven total turnovers. During the first three games of February, Sobolewski is averaging 17 points and has only five turnovers.

“A little bit of it is being more aggressive,” Sobolewski said. “A little bit of it is the other teams focusing on John and (junior forward Drew Crawford). You kind of use (the criticism) as motivation.”

Carmody acknowledged Sobolewski’s aggression, citing it as a reason why he can be so critical of the point guard during games. There were multiple times Thursday during which the coach appeared to be livid at Sobolewski. Carmody said he’s merely pushing him to make better decisions.

“I’m coaching that kid hard because I can,” Carmody said. “He snarls at you every once and awhile, but in a good way. He’s a competitor and he listens, so I like the way he’s played the last couple of games.”

NU shot close to 60 percent from the field and hit a remarkable 52 percent of its 3-point attempts. The shots going in helped to lessen the Hawkeyes’ (13-12, 5-7) advantage on the interior.

Iowa had only two blocks but used its size to score 28 points in the paint, mostly off put-back dunks and layups. The Hawkeyes finished with 13 second-chance points.

Two runs helped seal the deal for NU. The Cats went on a 19-4 run at the beginning of the first half to stake out an early double-digit lead. They then used a 9-0 streak in the middle of the second stanza to grab a 21-point lead and put the game to rest. The Hawkeyes never fully recovered from either run although they cut into the lead several times.

Iowa’s woes were punctuated in the second half with six fouls in the first three minutes of the half. NU went to the charity stripe 20 times in the half, hitting 15 of them while Iowa hit seven of nine attempts. The increase in fouls resulted from the Hawkeyes’ trying to stop the speed and athleticism the smaller Cats lineup presented.

“It’s a tough lineup to match up to,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “They got some drivers, they got plenty of shooters and we play more of a traditional lineup. Somebody that’s not used to guarding a guy like Shurna is going to end up on Shurna right off the bat. That’s why we mixed in some zone in the second half to try and keep us in our traditional spots.”

On the other end of the floor, Iowa shot the ball effectively. The Hawkeyes hit over 50 percent of their shots from the field and behind the arc, but 18 turnovers proved to be their downfall. The Cats stole the ball 11 times and converted on several odd-man breaks in the first half to help bolster their lead. NU only turned the ball over seven times, two of which came in the last two minutes of play.

“I liked the way we took care of the basketball,” Carmody said. “(Iowa) had some turnovers there, but more importantly I just thought they felt a little uncomfortable against (the 1-3-1 zone).”

joshuawalfish2014@u.northwestern.edu

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About the Writer
Josh Walfish, Sports Editor

Josh Walfish was Sports editor of The Daily. His past positions include Gameday editor. He is from Rockville, Md., and has interned for RantSports.