Men’s Basketball: In a game of haves and have-nots, Northwestern falls short in most categories

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Chirag Bachani/The Daily Northwestern

Redshirt junior center Ryan Young tries to put a move on a defender. Young had 10 points and seven rebounds in Northwestern’s 82-61 loss to Iowa.

Alex Cervantes, Reporter

During the final media timeout in Northwestern’s contest with No. 24 Iowa on Monday, a student manager for the Hawkeyes men’s basketball team drilled a half-court shot. 

ESPN called the moment “heartwarming” as the team quickly embraced him in celebration of his make. Such a reality, with the Wildcats tucked off the screen in a huddle, was emblematic of the game itself. The hosts were jubilant, and the visiting NU squad was limping to the finish.

But to understand how we got there, one must start all the way back at the beginning of the 21-point blowout. With just two games left on the docket before postseason play, the Cats’ final road trip of the season provided a penultimate opportunity to gain some momentum. However, that momentum was stopped in its tracks just mere moments after NU converted its first bucket of the game. 

Senior forward Pete Nance hit a right-handed skyhook to put the Cats on the board, but what followed was nothing short of a steamrolling. Iowa answered with a 15-2 run and never looked back. 

The damage continued to pile up as the half wore along, as NU’s best simply couldn’t contend with Iowa’s core trio.

The Hawkeyes and their coach, Fran McCaffery, have a presumptive All-Big Ten first team member in forward Keegan Murray, who is also in the running for National Player of the Year. Guard Jordan Bohannon has spent six years with the Hawkeyes and rained down countless triples against opponents — Monday was no different. And forward Connor McCaffery also enjoyed success from beyond the arc. Altogether, the trio tied the Cats’ total scoring output of 61 points. 

Meanwhile, NU struggled to get anything going its way from the jump. Nance, the team’s go-to threat, only attempted five shots in 29 minutes of action. Junior guard Boo Buie played just six minutes, exiting early in the first half due to an illness. Redshirt junior guard Chase Audige struggled from the field shooting 2-for-7. 

Iowa’s core trio outscored the Cats’ three mainstays by 50 points. 

If there were any positive takeaways from what was a near-lifeless performance, the production of sophomore guard Ty Berry and redshirt junior center Ryan Young provided a lift — however small it may be. 

Berry and Young were NU’s two leading scorers, notching 19 and 10 points, respectively. Berry, who has had his fair share of ups and downs from beyond the arc this season, gave the Hawkeyes trouble from 3-point land, knocking down five triples on 10 attempts. Young, meanwhile, was a respectable 4-for-8 from the field while also snagging seven boards.

Ultimately, it comes back to the haves and have-nots. 

Iowa had a projected lottery pick on the floor and the Cats did not. The Hawkeyes had three starters in double-digit scoring, NU did not. Iowa nailed five more 3-pointers, grabbed 15 more rebounds and had 10 more second-chance points than the Cats did.

And that’s why, at the end of the day, the Hawkeyes had a chance to celebrate a team manager nailing a halfcourt shot. 

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Twitter: @CervantesPAlex 

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