Men’s Basketball: Northwestern loses a game to forget by 21 to No. 24 Iowa


Alyce Brown/The Daily Northwestern

Ty Berry attempts a floater over defender. The sophomore was the only bright spot for NU in the 82-61 loss to No. 24 Iowa, dropping 19 points.

Lawrence Price, Assistant Sports Editor

Northwestern’s poor defensive effort in the second half versus Penn State Friday removed much optimism for the Wildcats entering Carver-Hawkeye Arena Monday to take on No. 24 Iowa. 

A group that has won six of its last seven contests, averages the most points per game in the Big Ten and flexes a lineup with a potential lottery pick in Keegan Murray, the Hawkeyes are a freight train hard to stop.

This go-around, though, it wasn’t just the defense that sunk the ship — it was both sides of the ball. In what was definitely a game to forget for NU (13-15, 6-13 Big Ten), there’s no question that it was coach Chris Collins’ and the Cats’ worst outing of the season as they lost to the Hawkeyes (21-8, 11-7 Big Ten) 82-61.

With a little less than 12 minutes left in the first half, sophomore guard Ty Berry’s trip to the charity stripe finally upped the Cats’ point total from four to five. NU was 2-for-10 from the field at the time, scoring their first points in nearly four minutes, and it wasn’t until around the 10-minute mark that they picked up another actual bucket in an up-and-under by freshman guard Julian Roper II. 

The Cats couldn’t make up for their offensive struggles on the defensive end, either. By the break, Iowa held a 19-point lead, even off a 25% performance from deep. Opposite of the Hawkeyes, NU went silent once again after Roper II’s right-handed layup, unable to reach double-digit points until 5:09 remained in the half.

While the Hawkeyes were feeling themselves entering halftime with both 10 second chance points and points off turnovers, alongside allowing their fewest points in a half this season, NU notched zero in both categories and nine turnovers.

The chance to recollect themselves and potentially produce a stellar second half didn’t come to fruition for the Cats, as Murray and the Hawkeyes dominated NU once again in round two.

As the clock hit 10 remaining in the contest, redshirt junior forward Ryan Young’s second-chance layup off an Iowa turnover gave NU their fifth and sixth points off turnovers for the game. However, the bucket only cut Iowa’s lead down to 23, and seconds later, it would jump back up to 26 following guard Connor McCaffery’s three-pointer.

McCaffery’s deep shot was one of nine threes the Hawkeyes knocked down in the second half, shooting almost 50% from beyond the arc (47.4). Although the Cats shot well from deep like their opponents in the second 20 minutes of work (42.9), it wasn’t enough for them to turn the tides in their direction, as Iowa maintained at least a 20-point lead till the final whistle. The only positive to come out of the losing outcome was Berry’s 19 points, the most he’s dropped since Ohio State on Jan. 9.

A lot of words, none positive, could be said about NU’s performance in their second-to-last regular season matchup where nothing went in their favor. With the seven-point loss to Penn State followed by Monday’s defeat, the Cats need to work many kinks out before senior night Sunday.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @LPIII_TRES

Related Stories:

Men’s Basketball: Penn State catches fire late to down Northwestern, 67-60
Men’s Basketball: Northwestern can’t capitalize on Penn State’s sloppiness, suffers crushing road loss
Rapid Recap: Penn State 67, Northwestern 60