March 3, 2012
Box Score |
Site: Iowa City, Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)
Score: Northwestern 70, Iowa 66
Records: NU (18-12, 8-10 Big Ten), Iowa (16-15, 8-10 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Thursday, March 8 -- vs. Minnesota; Big Ten tournament (Indianapolis, Ind.), 4:30 p.m. CT
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A 27-5 first-half run helped turn a 15-point deficit into a seven-point lead as Northwestern held off Iowa down the stretch to close out the regular season with a 70-66 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday afternoon.
Drew Crawford led the way, posting 18 points, seven rebounds and five steals. JerShon Cobb contributed 13 points for the Wildcats who defeated the Hawkeyes for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.
It was NU's largest comeback win of the season, topping a 14-point deficit overcome to defeat LSU Nov. 17.
Northwestern led 7-5 early on, but the Wildcats' shooting struggles caught up to them. NU connected on just two of its first 15 field goal attempts as Iowa went on a 15-0 run to surge in front 20-7 following a three-point play by Aaron White with 12:22 remaining.
The deficit would eventually grow to as many as 15 before the Wildcats began to chip away.
Trailing 28-13 with 9:27 left, Crawford started the comeback with a 3-pointer. A switch to the 1-3-1 zone keyed Northwestern's big run as a steal by Crawford led to a layup by Cobb that get the Wildcats within 10.
The teams traded baskets before Alex Marcotullio drilled a long triple from the right wing to make it a seven-point game. The deficit was 10 with under five minutes left when a 19-2 run to close the half completely turned the game around.
The Hawkeyes would commit six of their 13 first-half turnovers over the final 4:22 of the stanza. Six NU free throws cut the deficit to four before Hearn scored off a steal and a slam and a layup by Davide Curletti got the 'Cats all the way back to even at 33-33 with 2:14 to go.
Northwestern wasn't done, though, as three free throws and then a tough jumper by Crawford gave the Wildcats a five-point lead before Cobb scored on a lay-in off an Iowa miscue. NU would take a 42-35 lead a the break, a 22-point turnaround from their 15-point deficit.
John Shurna, who was limited to just three first-half points after picking up two fouls, gave the Wildcats their largest lead at 11 with 16:18 left when he wheeled in the post and slammed on Matt Gatens to make it 51-40.
NU's lead was 10 when Iowa rattled off three straight baskets to make it four-point game with 8:34 left. Baskets by Hearn and Crawford pushed the lead back up to eight, but Iowa continued to hang around.
The advantage was five with two minutes remaining when Gatens drilled an open 3-pointer to get the Hawkeyes within two.
Shurna was fouled with 1:18 left and went to the line to shoot the bonus, but he missed the front end and Iowa rebounded. However, the Hawkeyes' 18th turnover of the game gave Northwestern the ball right back.
On the other end, Dave Sobolewski drove the lane and missed, but got his own rebound as the Wildcats had the ball with 21.5 seconds to go and the shot clock turned off. Sobolewski was then fouled and sent to the free throw line with 16.9 seconds remaining and he rattled home a pair to push the advantage to four.
Bryce Cartwright scored on a layup on the other end to make it 68-66 and Shurna was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play with 10.9 seconds to go. The senior missed the front end of the bonus and the Hawkeyes rebounded with a chance to tie or take the lead.
Josh Oglesby got loose for a wide-open look at a 3-pointer from the right wing, but it barely missed and Northwestern got the rebound. Marcotullio converted on a pair from the charity stripe with 2.0 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Northwestern will be the No. 7 seed for next week's Big Ten tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Wildcats will square off against 10th-seeded Minnesota in an opening round contest at 4:30 p.m. Central time Thursday. The teams split their regular-season series with each squad winning on its home court.
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