Men’s Basketball: Northwestern falls to 1-4 in the Big Ten, loses to Iowa 73-63


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

Anthony Gaines holds onto the ball among Iowa defenders. The sophomore guard didn’t miss a shot from the field Wednesday.

Andrew Golden, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

There is a common saying that basketball is a game of runs.

In Wednesday’s matchup between Northwestern and Iowa, the story was no different. The Wildcats (10-6, 1-4 Big Ten) and the Hawkeyes (13-3, 2-3 Big Ten) played an even first half and the score was knotted up at 34-34 at half time.

After a three-pointer by junior A.J. Turner put NU ahead by 7 with 16:38 remaining in the second half, Iowa went on a 36-19 run to finish the game, beating the Cats 73-63.

NU started the game doing something that the team hadn’t done all season: play a 2-3 zone. And the Cats didn’t stick with it for very long. Iowa went on a 9-2 run to begin the game, forcing coach Chris Collins to call an early timeout.

“Because they’re so physical, we were trying to protect some foul trouble at times,” Collins said. “They draw a lot of fouls so (we) just wanted to give them some different looks. When you get into conference play, you gotta throw some different pitches.”

Back in their normal man-to-man defense, NU went on an 11-4 run to tie the game at 13, holding Iowa to just 2-8 shooting during the stretch. But just as it looked like the Cats were seizing the momentum, the Hawkeyes responded with a 15-8 run of their own to push their lead back to seven.

Iowa played the game without forward Tyler Cook, who leads the team with 17.3 points per game. Coming into the game, he was listed as doubtful and was ruled out during shootaround, according to Iowa’s coach Fran McCaffery. Even in his absence, the Hawkeyes got big contributions from sophomore forward Luke Garza, who added 16 points and five rebounds off the bench.

“You don’t know he’s not playing until he’s out there warming up,” Collins said of Cook. “You just approach the game as you’re playing a really good team. … They just played better than we did tonight.”

In the second half, Iowa made more of an attempt to attack the rim. As a result, NU quickly found itself in foul trouble early in the second half. Senior forward Vic Law ended the first half with zero fouls but he picked up three fouls within the first six minutes of the second half. Senior center Dererk Pardon committed two fouls in the first half. He also eventually fouled out with just over four minutes left in the game.

The Cats’ backup center, Barrett Benson, got four quick fouls in just under 11 minutes of action. Despite the foul trouble, Collins said that Bensonhas gave NU great energy and physicality off the bench, like he has all season.

But the most important addition off the bench for the Cats was Anthony Gaines. Normally seen as a defensive specialist for NU, Gaines today was just as effective offensively. The sophomore guard couldn’t miss — a career-high 13 points on 3-3 shooting from the field and 7-7 from the free throw line.

Even with Gaines’ hot hand, the Cats simply didn’t have enough in the tank to stop Iowa’s inside presence in the second half.

While it might not have been the start NU was looking for when the season began, Turner says that the team knows that there are more games left to play this season.

“We still got 15 mores left,” Turner said. “We’re gonna go watch the film and see what we can learn. … (We’re) just kinda learning through our mistakes.”

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