Men’s Basketball: Wildcats offense stumbles in loss to Hawkeyes

Senior+guard+Reggie+Hearn+fights+for+the+ball+during+Northwestern%27s+70-50+loss+against+Iowa.+The+Wildcats+struggled+shooting+on+Sunday%2C+hitting+only+15+of+their+51+shots+for+a+29.4+field+goal+percentage.
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Men’s Basketball: Wildcats offense stumbles in loss to Hawkeyes

Senior guard Reggie Hearn fights for the ball during Northwestern's 70-50 loss against Iowa. The Wildcats struggled shooting on Sunday, hitting only 15 of their 51 shots for a 29.4 field goal percentage.

Senior guard Reggie Hearn fights for the ball during Northwestern's 70-50 loss against Iowa. The Wildcats struggled shooting on Sunday, hitting only 15 of their 51 shots for a 29.4 field goal percentage.

Meghan White/Daily Senior Staffer

Senior guard Reggie Hearn fights for the ball during Northwestern's 70-50 loss against Iowa. The Wildcats struggled shooting on Sunday, hitting only 15 of their 51 shots for a 29.4 field goal percentage.

Meghan White/Daily Senior Staffer

Meghan White/Daily Senior Staffer

Senior guard Reggie Hearn fights for the ball during Northwestern's 70-50 loss against Iowa. The Wildcats struggled shooting on Sunday, hitting only 15 of their 51 shots for a 29.4 field goal percentage.

Josh Walfish, Reporter

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Northwestern is known for its Princeton offense, utilizing motion to open up backdoor cuts and three-pointers.

Coaches dread having to plan against it, but when a team figures out how to defend the Wildcats’ offense, it is up to NU to make the necessary adjustments. On Sunday against Iowa, NU did not make those adjustments, and as a result the offense had one of its worst performances of the season.

“This offense is extremely difficult to guard,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.  “I don’t know (if)  I have ever been in a game where the team I was involved with guarded it any better. The key was sustainability and not getting them a lot of second chance opportunities.”

The Cats shot an abysmal 29 percent from the field and an even more horrific 19 percent from three-point range. It was statistically the worst shooting game this season, but the contest was a combination of many factors that have slowed down the NU offense this season. Coach Bill Carmody said the offense is still trying to find someone to score on a consistent basis.

“We’re having a hard time figuring out who’s going to score,” the coach said. “Their veterans (were shooting) 7-for-9, 4-for-8, 5-for-6, 5-for-11 and we didn’t get that from our older guys.”

NU’s juniors and seniors combined to score 14 points against Iowa, three points less than the Hawkeyes’ sophomore forward Aaron White. Senior guard Alex Marcotullio said he understands the pressure that is on him as a senior leader and called on the veterans to step up and contribute.

“Coach is expecting a lot out of us, as he should be,” Marcotullio said. “The guys that have played here for a couple of years or even one year, we just have to do more.”

Carmody was very critical of his offense’s ball movement Sunday night. He said there was too much dribbling from his players and, as a result, the offense looked stagnant at times. Marcotullio agreed with that assessment but said the team just needs to execute the offense better and then find better shots. He said in order for NU to win in the Big Ten, it must make shots.

Although Carmody said he wants the team to pass the ball more, he also said he understands there are not many options. The coach has said he wants sophomore Dave Sobolewski to shoot the ball more, but the guard was 4-of-11 from the field and missed all five of his three-pointers. Despite the stat line, Carmody said Sobolewski understands he has to do more for this team to be successful.

“He’s feeling now like ‘Now who am I going to pass to?’” Carmody said. “I don’t think he’s happy with dribbling around so much and flying around through there, but he’s a competitor and somebody else has to help him out.”

Carmody said the lack of offensive production places a lot of pressure on the defense to come up with stops. He said the amount of energy exerted on the defensive end makes it harder for the Cats to execute their offense.

“When there’s so much pressure on your defense to make stops and then you can’t score at the other end, then all you’re doing is trying to guard and you won’t have success on the (offensive) end,” Carmody said.

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