Feb. 10, 2010
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone app!
- Purchase Iowa Men’s Basketball Tickets
- Take the Hawkeyes With You: Iowa Podcasts
- Iowa and the Big Ten Network
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By Sean Neugent
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A dominant offensive performance and a spurt of six 3-pointers in a matter of minutes during the second half helped the University of Iowa men’s basketball team bury Northwestern, 78-65, inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday.
Iowa (9-16 overall, 3-9 Big Ten Conference) seemingly could do no wrong on the offensive end and the Wildcats (16-8, 5-7) had no solution to the lethal attack the Hawkeyes were pouring on from behind-the-perimeter. The Hawkeyes worked the ball around swiftly and proficiently and seemed to find a wide-open teammate for an uncontested shot on several possessions.
The Hawkeyes had one of their best shooting performances of the season going 23 of 46 (50 percent) from the field, 12 of 24 (50 percent) from long-range, and 20 of 30 (67 percent) from the charity stripe.
“I think there is a lot to be said for guys who persevere and don’t give up,” UI head coach Todd Lickliter said. “I’m not saying we have everything fixed, but we have been playing good basketball and they could have easily gotten discouraged. I think they have been disappointed, but they weren’t discouraged. They came out tonight and played good basketball for a longer period of time, which was obviously a necessity against a good Northwestern team.”
Iowa had four different players score in double-figures led by Matt Gatens with 16 points. Devan Bawinkel went 5 of 8 from 3-point range for 15 points and Jarryd Cole added 13. Aaron Fuller chipped in 13 and had a game-high 11 rebounds while Cully Payne had six assists.
The Hawkeyes’ offense wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. Gatens quickly launched up a 3-pointer to take the early lead on Iowa’s first possession. The opening trifecta seemed to set the tone for the rest of the evening. Solid passing on the next trip put the ball in Cole’s hands for an easy layup. Fuller followed with a misfire, but grabbed his own rebound and hit a layup for a 7-2 advantage.
“What you really look for is are you getting good shots?” Lickliter said. “They are not always going to go in, but we have had some pretty good looks in the past and they just haven’t gone in. It sure is helpful when you make shots.”
“I think there is a lot to be said for guys who persevere and don’t give up. I’m not saying we have everything fixed, but we have been playing good basketball and they could have easily gotten discouraged. I think they have been disappointed, but they weren’t discouraged. They came out tonight and played good basketball for a longer period of time, which was obviously a necessity against a good Northwestern team.”
UI head coach
Iowa scored on the first 4 of 5 possessions with one turnover sandwiched in the middle for a 12-6 advantage. Northwestern’s Michael Thompson drained a long-range jumper to cut into Iowa’s lead, 14-9, but Bawinkel answered right back with one of his own.
The Wildcats started double-teaming the ball handler, but the Hawkeyes remained proficient and gave it right back to Bawinkel with the shot clock winding down and hit a 3-pointer for a 20-11 lead. The Wildcats continued to stick around when Thompson hit from behind-the-arc and Alex Marcotullio stole a pass from John Lickliter for a fastbreak layup to trail, 22-16.
The Hawkeyes began to struggle on the offensive end, but continued to work the ball around to get the 3-point specialist, Bawinkel, some easy looks to the basket. They did just that and Bawinkel drained two in a row for a 28-18 lead. Iowa was in control at halftime, 35-22.
“I was getting good looks and I hit them,” Bawinkel said. “I hit my first one and I had a lot of confidence that the rest of them were going to go in. I definitely wanted the ball (tonight).”
Northwestern trimmed Iowa’s lead to 10 points and clamped down on the defensive end. Iowa was held scoreless the first four-minutes of the second half before erupting for 11 consecutive points and a 46-31 advantage. Iowa continued to answer every Northwestern 3-pointer with one of their own.
Brennan Cougill capped off a barrage of long-range jumpers and Iowa could not miss. The Hawkeyes hit four consecutive from deep for a commanding 49-33 lead with 12:19 remaining.
Eric May continued the 3-point trend with two in a row for a 55-40 lead. Northwestern, a team needing a win to keep its tournament hopes alive refused to surrender and knocked shots of their own down.
With a big lead intact, Iowa slowed down the pace and looked inside with the Wildcats making sure there were no easy shots coming from the outside. The Hawkeyes were just as comfortable taking it to the inside for layups.
The Wildcats used a full-court press to try and slow down the Hawkeyes, but Iowa played it perfectly every time. Marcotullio and John Shurna hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close the gap enough to foul Iowa and put the Hawkeyes at the free throw line, but Iowa knocked down its shots to put them away.
“I have been saying all year long that I think we are a good shooting team,” Lickliter said. “They have stayed tough and continued to get shots up. Tonight they were and they were available and obviously that is important.”
“I think (that it was our best performance) because we closed it out in the end,” Bawinkel said. “Things went our way finally, the ball bounced our way and we hit big shots. We kept the lead and didn’t allow them to get back in the game.”
The Hawkeyes head to West Lafayette, Ind., on Saturday to take on Purdue inside Mackey Arena with a 3:35 p.m. tipoff.