Men’s Basketball: Northwestern falls in Iowa for fifth consecutive loss


Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

Aaron Falzon drives from the perimeter. The freshman forward was held scoreless in Sunday’s loss to No. 3 Iowa, shooting 0-for-8 from the field.

Max Schuman, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

After two straight blowout defeats, Northwestern traveled to Iowa City looking for a strong showing that could help the Wildcats get back on track.

Instead, NU ran into a juggernaut firing on all cylinders, and No. 3 Iowa made it three-straight huge losses for the Cats and five-straight overall, knocking off the visitors 85-71.

Senior guard Tre Demps led the way for NU with a career-high 30 points, while sophomore guard Scottie Lindsey scored 15 points after not playing against Michigan State. The Cats’ leading scorer on the season, sophomore guard Bryant McIntosh, struggled to get into the game and scored just 4 points on the afternoon.

After two straight slow starts snowballed into blowouts, NU took a 7-4 lead into the under-16 media timeout thanks to 5 early points from Demps and an 0-for-5 showing from 3 from the Hawkeyes in the game’s first four minutes. Demps’ shotmaking helped keep the Cats stay afloat early in the game, with the senior scoring 12 points in the first half.

NU wasn’t able to separate from Iowa though, as Iowa forward Jared Uthoff hit two straight 3s and scored a putback dunk on a personal 8-0 run that kept the Hawkeyes in the game. The senior star scored 19 of his 23 points in the first half.

Iowa surged back into the lead with a 28-8 run to end the first half, putting the Cats behind 42-26 at halftime. The Hawkeyes stymied the Cats’ offense after an encouraging start by switching to full court pressure and trapping in the halfcourt. NU shot 29.4 percent from the field and turned the ball over seven times in the half.

Demps said that the Cats’ hesitation in the face of the Iowa’s pressure led to NU’s struggles.

“In a press, you’ve got to be decisive,” he said. “Once the other team smells blood they can keep attacking you.”

The Cats switched out of their hybrid zone defense to start the second half and solid man-to-man defense helped NU to a quick 9-2 run after the break that cut Iowa’s lead to 9 with 16:12 to play. The defensive shift gave junior forward Sanjay Lumpkin the assignment of guarding Uthoff, and Lumpkin’s strong defense helped hold Uthoff to a 1-for-5 shooting line in the second half.

Coach Chris Collins said the defensive switch was in response to communication issues early in the game.

“I thought their motion was good and we weren’t talking as well and we were losing guys,” Collins said. “So we were in more of a switching man just to try to be more accountable for guys.”

But the Hawkeyes figured out the Cats’ man defense and responded with a 23-7 run to put the game away, highlighted by 20 points and three straight 3-pointers from guard Peter Jok. The junior scored 26 points on the day and his explosion in the second half helped Iowa to a 67-42 lead with 10:38 to play.

“(Jok) can shoot, he can drive, he got a lot of calls this game,” Lindsey said. “He’s a good scorer.”

NU shot better in the second half, hitting from the field at a 54.8 percent clip after the break. But with Iowa’s powerful offense leaving little margin for error, the Cats’ 16 turnovers on the day killed all chances of a comeback. NU ended the game on a 15-4 run but was unable to climb all the way back.

Collins said Iowa’s ascendance into the national spotlight can serve as a model for the Cats’ push for relevancy.

“They play well off of each other, they’ve grown up together,” he said. “Hopefully by the time we have all juniors and seniors we can have a team like they do.”

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