Jan. 13, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The monkey is off the University of Iowa men's basketball team's back.
After starting off Big Ten Conference play with an 0-3 record, the Hawkeyes notched their first league victory of the season, using a dominating defensive effort to down Northwestern, 70-50, on Sunday night inside Welsh-Ryan Arena.
The win ends a five-game losing streak to the Wildcats and improves Iowa's record to 12-5 overall and 1-3 in conference action.
"That's as good as we can play defensively," said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. "This offense is extremely difficult to guard. I don't know I have ever been in a game where the team I was involved with guarded it any better. The key was sustainability and not getting them a lot of second chance opportunities."
Northwestern made five first half field goals and was 15-of-51 (29.4 percent) for the game. The Wildcats made 5-of-26 (19.2 percent) 3-point attempts and was 15-of-25 from the charity stripe.
After Northwestern trimmed a 10-point deficit two six points on a pair of layups off of two Iowa turnovers to start the second half, McCaffery called a quick timeout. From there, sophomore Aaron White took over, scoring nine of 13 points to push the Iowa lead to 38-25 at the 13:11 mark.
"We gave them two layups, that gets the crowd involved and their bench involved," said McCaffery. "The most important thing was we scored the next two baskets and got it back to a double-digit lead. That's what good teams do."
Sophomore Josh Oglesby followed with back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead to 44-27 with 12 minutes to play before junior Melsahn Basabe netted Iowa's next seven points to push the lead to 51-35 with 10:16 to play.
The Hawkeyes controlled the action from there, building their lead to a game-high 27 points (68-41) on a 3-pointer by Oglesby -- his fourth of the game -- and a fast break layup by junior Zach McCabe with 5:35 to play. Iowa cruised to the 20-point victory.
"It's only a matter of time, he's too good of a shooter," said McCaffery of Oglesby's performance. "I am so proud of him, he's working at it. I just keep encouraging him to shoot. When he's doing that, we're a pretty good team."
Three Iowa players reached double figures with White leading the way with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go along with six rebounds. Oglesby found his shooting touch, making 5-of-11 field goal attempts, including four 3-pointers, and Basabe finished with 11 points, making 5-of-6 attempts.
Junior Roy Devyn Marble started and finished with eight points in 30 minutes after missing the Jan. 10 game against Michigan State with an ankle injury.
The Hawkeyes shot 46 percent (29-of-63) from the floor and 25 percent (4-of-16) from 3-point range. Iowa had 22 assists on its 29 field goals and committed nine turnovers. The team also held a 43-33 advantage on the glass and a 40-18 edge in points in the paint.
Baskets were few and far between over the first 12 minutes, as Iowa and Northwestern played to an 11 all tie. The Hawkeyes then used an 8-0 spurt to take a 19-11 lead and closed out the half on a 16-5 run to take a 25-15 lead into the break.
Marble and White accounted for 10 of the 16 points over the final 6:10. Marble made back-to-back jumpers to push the Iowa advantage to double digits (23-13), and freshman Adam Woodbury's lay-up pushed the margin to 25-13.
The Hawkeyes shot 35.7 percent (10-of-28) from the field and 0-of-5 from 3-point distance. Northwestern was 5-of-24 from the floor (20.8 percent) and 1-of-11 from long range. Twelve of Iowa's 25 points came in the paint, and it assisted on seven of its 10 field goals.
Iowa returns to action Saturday, hosting Wisconsin at 7 p.m. on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game will be played on the 20th anniversary of former Hawkeye Chris Street's death.
"We're going to remember one of the great Hawks of all-time, as we've done the last 20 years and will continue to do forever," said McCaffery. "There will be a lot of emotion in the building, we just have to focus on the game and bringing the Hawkeyes home a victory."