Rapid Recap: No. 24 Iowa 112, Northwestern 76


Gabe Bider/The Daily Northwestern

Senior forward Pete Nance gives an emotional hug to one of his coaches. Nance scored 11 points in his last game for NU in their round two loss to Iowa, 112-76.

Lawrence Price, Assistant Sports Editor

As Northwestern entered day two of the Big Ten Tournament against 5-seeded Iowa, it’s hard not to have flashbacks of the two teams’ last battle 10 days ago, where the Hawkeyes clobbered the Cats 82-61.

This time around, possibly NU’s last court appearance of the season, they were unable to stop presumptive lottery pick Keegan Murray and Iowa’s electric offense, dropping the contest 112-76 — the most points scored in a Big Ten game all time.

The Hawkeyes were on fire from the get-go. By the first media timeout following a Murray alley-oop slam, the Cats found themselves in a familiar hole, down 15-4 at the 16-minute mark. Six of these points came from flick-of-the-wrist threes by Jordan Bohannon, guiding Iowa towards a 6-12 shooting start. On the other end, coach Chris Collins’ squad had only taken five shots, made two of them, and turned the ball over three times.

Gradually, though, the Cats found their rhythm on offense. Coming out of the media timeout, Nance missed a straightaway three; however, NU then hit five straight shots — bumping them up to 17. By the end of the half, the Cats had shot 44% from the field, 40% from deep. Senior forward Pete Nance and forward Robbie Beran carried the point load, combining for 17 points.

Even with this solid performance, they didn’t receive the standing ovation by the Gainbridge Fieldhouse audience: it was Iowa. The Hawkeyes put on an absolute show on the offensive themselves, notching what most would assume to be an entire game’ point total, 64 points. Half of these points came from deep, knocking down a whopping 11 threes, alongside shooting 68% from the field.

It’s safe to say that when the Cats scored, Iowa would follow up that bucket with one of their own. To add on, when NU didn’t score, the Hawkeyes would immediately come down and score on the other end. This performance amounted to an 11-1 run by Iowa heading into the break.

Coming out of the break, things were no different. Although they didn’t hit the 64-point mark once again, Iowa still made it rain against the Cats. By the end of part two, the Hawkeyes knocked down eight more threes with five players in double figures — highlighted by Murray’s 26 point and eight-rebound bomb. 

The Cats shot well 45.6% from the field, a statistic you would think bring the game closer points wise, but didn’t whatsoever. With both groups putting in their reserves early into the half, Iowa capped off their 112-76 performance with a logo three by Luc Laketa during the team’s last offensive possession, the final blow to NU’s season.

In their last contests wearing the purple-and-white, Nance picked up 11 points, senior guard Ryan Greer scored four and graduate forward Elyjah Williams went scoreless. 


  • Scoring the basketball is important……but playing good defense is important, too

The Cats surprisingly shot 45.6% from the field by the time the final buzzer sounded, including sparks early in the first and second halves. However, no one cares about this offensive success when you give up this many points on the opposite end. Granted, Iowa’s offense presents many challenges, a major reason being the Big Ten highest scoring team. Yet, if you want a chance to win, you have to minimize at least one of these focal points, and NU didn’t do that. 

When searching for a window to get back into a game, you hope to stop a team on defense and take advantage of the silence with hot shooting of your own. However, the Cats’ inability to slow down the Hawkeyes at any point of the game allowed them to score their most points of the season.

  • Collins and Co. look to next season after disappointing loss

With multiple losing streaks throughout the season and another low finish in the Big Ten, it is possible to think that NU’s performance in the tournament would be the pressure cooker for coach Chris Collins’ job. However, after last night’s come-from-behind win against Nebraska, it seems reasonable that the possibility would be quieted over the offseason, even after the loss to Iowa. Athletic director Derrick Gragg will have a decision to make.

  • The future looks scary for NU without Pete Nance

NU’s loss to Iowa was one of the worst ways to end a season, hands down. However, the sadder sight is that Pete Nance won’t be on the floor with the team next season. Besides the forward’s 11 points, third on the team, the senior from Akron does a lot for the team that doesn’t always show up in the score column, acting as a point forward and offensive initiator to his continually defensive presence. The Cats won’t be able to replace Nance and the bag he carried, and will now lean on others, such as junior forward Robbie Beran, redshirt junior Ryan Young, and bench players that will get an uptick in their minutes: sophomore center Matt Nicholson, freshman guard Casey Simmons and freshman guard Brooks Barnhizer. Which is to say thank you to Pete Nance.

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