By NANCY ARMOUR
AP Sports Writer
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Vedran Vukusic scored his only five points in the last minute, including a long jumper with seven-tenths of a second left that gave Northwestern a 51-49 victory over Iowa on Wednesday night.
T.J. Parker, Jitim Young and Davor Duvancic all had 14 points for Northwestern, which swept the season series against Iowa for the first time since 1959. The victory was a critical one for Northwestern, which needs to be .500 or better to make the NIT. The Wildcats are 13-13 (8-7 Big Ten) with one regular-season game left.
Greg Brunner had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Iowa (15-11, 8-7), but the Hawkeyes didn’t have any other players in double figures.
Vukusic averages 14.6 points a game, second-best on the team, but he was 0-for-9 through the first 39 minutes of the game. When the Wildcats really needed him, though, he came up big.
With Northwestern trailing 47-45, Vukusic hit an off-balance 3-pointer. Brody Boyd missed a long 3, and Duvancic made the front end of a one-and-one. He missed the second, though, and Iowa got the ball with 30 seconds left. Jeff Horner was fouled by Young and made both shots, tying the game again at 49.
But Vukusic had one more big shot in him. With seven-tenths of a second left, he drilled a long jumper. As the ball swished through the net, the Northwestern bench jumped to its feet and the crowd roared.
Iowa had one chance left, but Duvancic tipped the inbounds pass and time ran out. Students rushed onto the floor to celebrate.
Northwestern went almost seven minutes without a field goal midway through the second half, but Iowa couldn’t capitalize on the drought. Erek Hansen scored on a dunk and a turnaround jumper as part of a 7-1 Iowa run that gave the Hawkeyes a 34-28 lead with 14:25 to play, but the Hawkeyes couldn’t build a bigger lead.
Duvancic finally broke Northwestern’s scoring drought with a layup with 11:46 to play. Then Parker caught fire. Parker made three 3-pointers in seven minutes to give Northwestern a 45-40 lead with 2:49 to play.
But Boyd made a 3 of his own to tie the game at 45, setting up Vukusic’s heroics.