The Iowa Hawkeyes (17-10, 9-7) couldn’t overcome a dreadful shooting night as the Northwestern Wildcats (20-7, 11-5) rode another excellent game from Boo Buie in a 80-60 victory. It was the Wildcats first victory over Iowa since 2017.
Buie led all players with 23 points, the bulk of which came in the first half while he played more facilitator in the second with seven assists. The leading scorer for Iowa was Kris Murray with 14 points on 5/13 shooting as the Hawks couldn’t maneuver the limbs of Northwestern’s interior defense and turned it over 15 times. Tony Perkins with 11 points, all in the second half, and Filip Rebrača with 10 to join Murray in double figures.
Iowa couldn’t buy a basket for much of the first half as the Wildcats packed the paint and forced Hawkeye threes over the top of them. The Hawks complied by going just 2/17 from three in the stanza. Indicative of just how bad Iowa’s three point shooting was, there was a stretch of time where the only three Iowa made - Payton Sandfort’s first shot of the game - was counted as two despite being clearly behind the line.
For a seven-minute, the Hawks missed 10 straight shots which included eight from deep. Perhaps most frustrating from that stretch was how little Northwestern extended the lead. from 16-12 to 25-13 before a Connor McCaffery layup closed the gap to 10. Not for nothing, Tony Perkins sat out the bulk of this stretch due to two-foul jail.
In addition to the errant shooting, the Hawkeyes couldn’t string enough possessions with a shot together to have the math tilt their direction. Eight first half turnovers, including five steals, led to 10 Wildcat points in a half they otherwise shot 43%.
A couple Wildcat threes & going 6/6 from the line helped extend the lead to 14 before a last second three from Ahron Ulis closed the halftime deficit to 37-26.
The Hawks couldn’t leverage the found money into a run for the second half as the two teams traded baskets coming out of the break. Kris Murray cut the deficit to seven after an and-one with 13:47.
Northwestern came right back with a 12-2 run over the following four-plus minutes to stretch the lead to 15. After Iowa’s first three pointer of the second half by Patrick McCaffery with 7:54 remaining in the game, Northwestern broke the press with a little extra help which led to the ire and ejection of Fran McCaffery as the ensuing Boo Buie free throws put the game out of reach.
Next up: Wednesday, 2/22 at Wisconsin